Construction firm fined

ONE of Northern Ireland’s largest construction firms, based in Magherafelt, has been fined £75,000 after pleading guilty to breaches which led to the death of a worker.

Desmond Stevenson, 62, died when a temporary building at RAF Aldergrove fell on him in 2006.

Henry Brothers was fined £75,000 plus £15,000 in costs, while architect Anthony Stewart was fined £5,000.

The case was brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSENI).

Mr Stewart was a joiner employed by Henry Brothers in Magherafelt.

The firm had secured a £7.5m contract part, of which was to move ten pre-fabricated units from one area to another at RAF Aldergrove.

At Antrim Crown Court last week Henry Brothers and Mr Stewart pleaded guilty to two breaches of health and safety legislation arising out of the incident.

The court heard that the risk of collapse had not been identified at the planning stage due to “inadequate risk assessment, design and supervision”.

A defence lawyer for Henry Brothers said that while the company accepted responsibility as the main contractor, none of the other experts on site appreciated the risk.

In a statement, the company expressed its condolences to Mr Stevenson’s family.

A lawyer for Mr Stewart said that although he was project manager, he was a step removed from having direct responsibility for health and safety.

He said his client had not been on site for six weeks before the accident and had been shocked to be caught up in the prosecution.

Ms Denise Donaghy, an inspector with HSENI’s investigation team said: “This case sends out a clear reminder to architects and designers that the risks involved in construction activities must be considered and addressed at the design stage.

“Also companies involved in construction must make sure their activities are carried out in a safe and considered manner”.