Leading Construction firm ordered to pay compensation after worker death

A court in Northern Ireland has ordered one of the country's biggest construction firms to pay compensation after the death of a sub-contractor on one of its sites.

Martin McKay, 31, was electrocuted while working on a road project in County Fermanagh in February 2006. He died when he touched the side of a lorry as it came into contact with overhead electricity cables.

The company he was carrying out the for, Northstone (NI) Ltd, had overall responsibility for the site and is therefore liable for the £60,000 compensation claim, despite it being owned by the Dublin-based firm CRH.

The compensation claim is based upon the ruling that Northstone (NI) Ltd has failed to ensure a safe work area near the overhead power lines. It also failed to complete a suitable risk assessment and failed to ensure its sub-contractors followed health and safety procedures.

Northstone (NI) pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of its sub-contractors and was ordered to pay £20,000 compensation. It was also fined £20,000 for failing to impose health and safety measures and a further £20,000 after admitting to failing to complete a suitable risk assessment.

Gerard Hayden from Thornhill Road, Dungannon, the driver of the tipping lorry, was fined £300 for a breach of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

The UK's Health and Safety Executive has revealed that the construction industry has the largest number of fatal injuries of the main industry groups. In 2008/09p there were 53 fatal injuries giving at rate of 2.5 per 100,000 workers.

Meanwhile, research carried out in America by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on construction site injuries found that workers between the ages of 25 and 34 were to most likely to be injured, while one out of every 10 construction workers will suffer from some form of injury each year.

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