HSA tells court man’s death could have been avoided if pin had of been fitted on digger

An inspector from the Health and Safety Authority has told a court that a man would not have died if a pin intended to be fitted on a digger had been in place.

Mr Greg Murphy was giving evidence in the case of Owen Curran, a building site foreman facing three charges of negligence surrounding the death of fellow worker Francie Callaghan.

Mr Callaghan of Shanagh, Fanad, was killed when he was struck on the back by a digger bucket at Forquar, Milford in January 2007.

Safety expert Greg  Murphy told Letterkenny Circuit Court that the digger being used to lift 875kg concrete manhole covers should never have been utilised for that purpose.

The site foreman, 67 year old Owen Curran, of Lower Dore, Bunbeg denies negligence.

Defence Barrister Peter Nolan said a case should never have been brought against Curran as the digger driver had already pleaded guilty to various offences. He claimed this case was an afterthought by the HSA.

However prosecuting barrister Patricia McLoughlin said the accused was responsible for devising the system of work which meant the dead man had to be under the digger bucket to help lift the huge manhole covers.

She argued the fact is that the system of work which was in place led to Mr Callaghan being struck by the bucket.

Judge Rory McCabe said he will give his summing up today and will send out the jury to reach a verdict.