Hotel faces trial after worker’s scaffolding plunge

The operators of a Dublin hotel have pleaded not guilty to breaking health and safety laws after a worker was injured when he allegedly fell through a rotten board on a scaffolding tower.

Olema Consultants, of 60, Harcourt St, Dublin 2 face six charges under the Safety and Health and Welfare at Work Act following an incident on May 6, 2014 at the Harcourt Hotel.

Prosecution counsel Antonia Boyle told Judge John O’Neill at Dublin District Court that an outline of facts would have to be heard for jurisdiction to be decided.

It is alleged a worker had been erecting a 15m scaffolding tower, said Health and Safety Authority inspector David O’Connell. He said the worker had been standing on the third-floor platform when he went through a board and fell onto the second level. The court heard he then went through boards again and landed on the tower’s first level — a drop of six metres. Mr O’Connell told the prosecution counsel the man had been standing on a single board which was rotten and “snapped in half”.

The worker was in hospital for three days and suffered multiple injuries but is back at work. However, he may have ongoing back and neck pain. Judge O’Neill was also furnished with medical reports. He accepted jurisdiction for the case to be dealt with at district court and was told the allegation would be disputed. The trial is to take place next March.

The hotel company is accused of failing to ensure the safety of the worker in that a scaffolding tower on site was not safe for use and that this resulted in the worker suffering injuries when he fell. Other charges allege that boards on the scaffolding were defective; that the scaffolding was inadequately maintained; that there was inadequate training and supervision; and that they did not have a required constructions skills registration card.


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