Dublin hotel firm in court after worker falls from scaffolding


The bosses of a Dublin hotel have pleaded not guilty to breaching Ireland’s health and safety laws after a worker was injured when he allegedly fell through a rotten board on a scaffolding tower.

The Harcourt Hotel
The Harcourt Hotel, Dublin

The Harcourt Hotel operators Olema Consultants, of Harcourt Street, Dublin 2 face six charges under the Safety and Health and Welfare at Work Act following an incident on May 6th, 2014 at the Harcourt Hotel.

Dublin District Court heard how it was alleged that a worker had been erecting a 15 meter scaffolding tower. While the worker was standing on the third lift of the scaffold the board snapped in half falling to the second lift, then snapping those boards finally landing on the first lift of the scaffold tower.

Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority inspector David O’Connell told the prosecution counsel the man had been initially standing on a single board which was rotten and “snapped in half”. The worker was in hospital for three days and suffered multiple injuries but is back at work. However, he may have ongoing back and neck pain.

The hotel company is accused of failing ensure the safety of the worker in that a scaffolding tower on site was not safe for use and that this resulted in the worker suffering personal injuries when he fell from a height.

Other charges allege that boards on the scaffolding were defective and failed to prevent the fall, that the scaffolding was inadequately planned and maintained, that there was inadequate training and supervision and that they did not have a required constructions skills registration card.

The trial continues in March 2016.

Christian Brash from John Brash & Co Ltd – which manufactures more than two million scaffold boards each year said – cases such as this are, thankfully, few and far between but they do serve as a sobering reminder of the importance of safety in the scaffolding industry.

“Working at height is a challenging working environment and safety should always be the number one priority for every scaffolding contractor.” said Christian.

“Cases such as this do send ripples through the industry and it is an opportune time for roofing contractors to review all their processes and equipment to ensure that everything is fully compliant with the current standards.” 

Christian signposted the British Standards Institution’s (BSI) BS2482 and National Access and Scaffolding Confederation’s (NASC) TG6:10.