Tragic death of Brian Og Maguire sends out firm message
The tragic death of Brian Og Maguire underlines once again the dangers workers face in the construction industry and the absolute importance of ensuring that safety standards are rigorously observed.
Mr Maguire (24), a senior Fermanagh GAA player, died after a steel cable snapped and struck him while he worked at a concrete factory in Derrylin in September 2012.
Last week a director of Quinn Building Products Ltd pleaded guilty on behalf of the company for failing to ensure the safety of an employee and failing to maintain work equipment.
Yesterday the firm was fined £100,000 at Omagh Crown Court by Judge Paul Ramsey, who described it as an `agonising and heartbreaking' case and spoke of the devastation caused to the victim's family.
Their anguish was all too apparent in a statement issued by Brian and Eileen Maguire following the conclusion of the court proceedings.
They told how the day their son died marked the end of the happy life they knew and plunged the family into an ``awful, ongoing nightmare from which there is no escape.''
``The horror of what we had to face that day is still unbearable, the pain excruciating and relentless,'' they said.
What is particularly hard for the family to accept is that this was an accident that could have been prevented, a point reinforced by Health and Safety Executive inspector Louis Burns.
He said the company had not implemented a robust system to manage, inspect and maintain safety equipment in this high risk industry.
``This tragic incident was avoidable and it is hard to overstate the potential for death or serious injury arising from poor maintenance,'' he said.
This dreadful case should send out a firm message to employers who fail to properly resource and carry out the critical checks which are needed to keep their workers safe.
Sadly, Brian Og Maguire was not the only worker to die in an industrial accident in recent years.
In fact, deaths in the workplace have increased sharply with 23 employees losing their lives in Northern Ireland in 2014/15.
This is a shocking toll and affects a range of sectors, including the farming industry.
It is disturbing to think that someone can go off to do a day's work and lose their life because key procedures were not followed.
These alarming figures and tragedies such as that of Mr Maguire shows that more needs to be done to improve workplace safety.
Employers must face up to their responsibilities and eradicate poor practices that can lead to death or serious injury.