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Thread: Man Cage death

  1. #1
    Senior Member stock's Avatar
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    Aug 2008

    Man Cage death

    Friday, 18 December 2009
    Death of Polish worker a wake-up call to construction bosses
    Irish company directors received a stark reminder of the importance of prioritising health and safety following the prosecution of a construction-firm owner and his two sons over the death of a Polish worker.

    Sean Doyle and the Roscommon-based companies run by his sons John and Noel were fined a total of €350,000 at Roscommon Circuit Court on 11 December, after the judge heard how Czeslav Malinowski died in a fall from height in April 2006.

    Mr Malinowski, 49, was employed by Owencrest Properties Ltd, directed by John Doyle, and was working on a construction project in Roscommon town’s main street, which was being undertaken by Roscommon Building Company Ltd, directed by Noel Doyle.

    On the day of the incident, he was cleaning the façade of a three-storey building using a power washer and standing on a ‘man-cage’ work platform, which was raised to a height of between six and ten feet. During the operation the cage disconnected from the platform and Mr Malinowski, who was not wearing a safety harness, fell on to the street below, hitting his head on the kerb and sustaining fatal injuries.

    The man-cage platform was resting on the forks of a teleporter machine, which was being operated under the control of Sean Doyle – director of a number of companies, including Owencrest Properties and Roscommon Building Company. The court heard that the platform was either inadequately secured, or not secured at all to the teleporter, and was not a proprietary cage designed for such use. In addition, Sean Doyle was not certified to operate the vehicle.

    The Irish Times newspaper reported Health and Safety Authority inspector Kevin Broderick as saying to the court that Sean Doyle had accidentally struck a lever with his elbow, which caused the raised platform and its occupant to fall. Mr Broderick added that the teleporter had no tilt-lock mechanism – a legal requirement – to prevent the platform from moving.

    Owencrest Properties Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching sections 8(2)(c)(iii) and 19(1) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 by failing to manage and conduct work activities in such a way as to ensure the safety of Mr Malinowski, and failing to carry out an assessment of the risks to this employee. The company was fined €100,000.

    Roscommon Building Company Ltd was fined €200,000 after pleading guilty to breaching sections 12 and 15(3) of the same Act by failing to ensure that non-employees were not exposed to risks as a result of the work being undertaken, and failing to ensure that equipment provided for that work was safe and without risk to health.

    Sean Doyle pleaded guilty to two counts under section 80 of the same Act in that, as a director of both the above companies, he authorised, or consented to their offences. He was fined €50,000 by Judge Michael White, who accepted that the Doyles’ group of companies had a previously good health and safety record, and acknowledged their distress over the death of Mr Malinowski.

    Commenting after the sentences, the chief executive of the Health and Safety Authority, Martin O’Halloran, said the case should act as a warning to all those in charge of places of work. He added: “The law clearly states that directors and senior managers have responsibilities to safeguard the safety, health and welfare of their employees. The consequences for failing to do so were tragic in this case. My sympathies are with the wife of Mr Malinowski. I understand that nothing can ever make up for her loss but I hope that today’s sentencing can give her some closure and act as a deterrent to other directors and senior managers who are not taking their legal and moral duties seriously.”

    Common sense is not common practice

  2. #2
    Senior Member AtlasRob's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    West Sussex UK
    I will never understand why it takes 2 1/2 years to get a court case such as this to conclusion.

    I know an investigation has to be conducted and the results analysed in order to decide if there is a case to answer and if so, who and on what charges but in what would appear to be a quite straight forward case such as this WHY the hell does it take so long.
    If their no good in the seat, put them on their feet.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator CM1995's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    How hard is it to properly secure a man basket? I have one for my telehandler, the forks slide in and two locking pins slide in behind the forks securing the platform to the lift. In addition all workers in the basket are harnessed and tied off. Also no one is in the basket while the machine is moving around the site.

    This is my protocol -

    Secure basket to forks with safety pins. Maneuver the telehandler into a safe position for the lift and level up. Set parking brake. Workers enter basket and tie off. Make your lift. Operator stays in the seat the whole time, monitoring the situation. All operators have forklift training, plus more importantly we train them and only put operators on the machine that know what they are doing. Pretty simple, but if you don't follow those rules you are no longer employed.

    I have made many lifts in a telehandler and man basket, both at the controls and in the basket. Something like this is totally uncalled for.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member AtlasRob's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    West Sussex UK
    Quote Originally Posted by CM1995 View Post
    How hard is it to properly secure a man basket? ................... Operator stays in the seat the whole time, monitoring the situation. ........................ Pretty simple, but if you don't follow those rules you are no longer employed.

    Something like this is totally uncalled for.
    I have to agree 100% and I admire your work ethic.

    A good few years ago while on a tunnel / underground station construction project, permission was gained to use a basket adapted and fitted to the front bucket of a C@t track shovel. The steepness and angle of the tunnel made it virtually impossible to use the cherry picker baskets we had been using.
    Everything was ok until the operator got bored and thought he could be doing something constructive rather than sitting there watching 2 men in the basket.
    As he went to exit the cab he caught his hi-vis on the bucket lever and 1/2 dumped the bucket.
    Luckily the basket was secured and so were the men. It could all so easily have been a very different scenario.
    If their no good in the seat, put them on their feet.

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