Northern Ireland

Co Antrim firm fined £120,000 over death of employee crushed in workplace accident

<span style="font-family: Arial, sans-serif; ">NK Coatings Ltd accepted its health and safety failings as it was fined &pound;120,000</span>
NK Coatings Ltd accepted its health and safety failings as it was fined £120,000 NK Coatings Ltd accepted its health and safety failings as it was fined £120,000

A CO Antrim shot-blasting firm was today fined £120,000 after one of its employees was crushed to death when a metal rack fell off a forklift truck.

Belfast Recorder Judge Stephen Fowler QC said the "forseeable failings'' by NK Coatings Ltd in the incident almost two years ago resulted in the death of a 56-year-old man which had a "catastrophic impact on his wife and three daughters who have lost their loving husband and father''.

Paul Harvey, a director of NK Coatings Ltd, based at Michelin Road, Mallusk, had previously pleaded guilty on behalf of the company to a single charge of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees.

Passing on the court's "deepest sympathies'' to the family, Judge Fowler added: "A void has been left in their lives which cannot be assuaged by any sentence that I pass today."

Prosecution lawyer David Russell told Belfast Crown Court that on September 23, 2020, workers at the factory were moving a partially assembled metal rack weighing 660kg on a forklift truck.

While manoeuvring the metal structure onto its feet, "the metal rack fell off the toes of the forklift, pinning the victim to the ground and crushing the deceased''.

Mr Russell said that the previous week a crane had been used to move a similar type structure, adding that had this happened in this incident the death of the worker would not have taken place.

Defence counsel Frank O'Donoghue QC said his instructions on behalf of the company was "this accident should not have happened and it is a matter of deep regret that the accident did happen and the company fully acknowledge the dreadful consequences that has befallen the family of the deceased''.

In relation to the financial hardship affecting deceased's family, Mr O'Donoghue said the company's solicitors would be addressing that with NK Coatings's insurers.

The defence counsel said that the company fully accepted its health and safety failings.

Judge Fowler said the company had "completely failed'' to forsee the dangers when assembling the rack as he imposed a fine of £120,000.