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Workplace fatality in Dublin port
Coleman Legal LLP
Jun 20, 2018

Workplace Fatality – Father of two dies in workplace accident on pier at Dublin port


The sudden death of a male in his 30’s occurred in Dublin Port on Wednesday morning (6th June). An investigation is currently being carried out by An Garda Siochana into the circumstances of the workplace fatality. Just after 11.30am on Wednesday, the emergency services attended the scene at Ocean Pier. While the male was taken to The Mater Hospital, he was sadly pronounced dead a short time later. Both the local coroner and the Health and Safety Authority have been notified of the incident.

The exact cause of the fatality is as yet unknown, however it is believed that there may have been ongoing works on moving steel beams in the location of the accident. Speaking on the day of the accident,  a spokesperson for the HSA has stated:

We can confirm that a very serious accident occurred at Dublin Port shortly before lunchtime today. The HSA have launched an investigation and inspectors are currently on site. ”

Workplace Fatality

The HSA provides fact sheets and details on common hazards and protocols that must be followed in ports and docks, which includes:


  • Chemical agents where there is a risk of adverse health effects (e.g. respiratory problems), fire and even death. This can be caused by dusty cargoes or respiratory sensitisers, fumigated cargoes, gases due to decomposition or bacterial action of some cargoes, flammable toxic poisonous or corrosive cargoes and vehicle exhaust emissions.


  • Environmental conditions caused by cold/wet weather, which can reduce concentration and make manual tasks more difficult. Tidal movements can also affect safety access to ships, with an increased risk of collision between shipping vessels and dockside equipment.


  • Lifting operations can prove treacherous/extremely difficult, particularly where heavy, wet awkward ropes are involved. The HSA insists that all lifting equipment must be inspected and tested and records of these tests are kept in accordance with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 2007. A register of lifting equipment and accessories must be maintained. All lifting equipment must be capable of lifting the required load.



  • Fatigue can be a major factor in workplace fatalities and accidents as working hours can be long with intense pace. Conditions can be confined and cramped and there may be a requirement for a fast turnaround. Dock operations can be prone to unexpected events and delays over which there may be little control. Fatigue may not always be obvious and can develop over an extended period of time. This can greatly increase the risk of accidents through poor perception and physical exhaustion. Measures should be in place to ensure that rest periods are appropriate. When organising the workload, account must be taken of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 and the Night Work and Shift Work Regulations (Part 6, Chapter 3 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 as amended. Managers, shift workers and night workers must be educated about the dangers of fatigue and the need for proper sleep.



  • Falling objects can be extremely hazardous. It is imperative that all securing equipment, such as lashing bars and twistlocks are adequately maintained and inspected. Loads must be appropriately secured especially during movement around the dock. Marked safety areas should be provided for lorry drivers loading and unloading operations and for customs officials to carry out sealing of containers and examinations.



  • Mooring hazards are a risk within any dock or shipyard, whereby a person can get caught in a line or a winch. All workers carrying out mooring operations should be specifically trained and should stand clear of lines being thrown, but be ready to pick them up as soon as they have landed. They should wear appropriate personal protective equipment and should never step over a mooring line under tension.



  • Moving vehicles and equipment – there should be an appropriate traffic management system in place, to allow for both operational and safety control of the port. Marked and signposted walkways should be in place. As far as is reasonably practicable, vehicles and pedestrians must be segregated from one another. All port users should be aware of the traffic plan and the safe systems of work. Where traffic routes have to change for operational reasons, sufficient notice of the change should be provided.


  • Slips and trips make up the majority of dock accidents that are reported to the HSA. The employer or person in control of the place of work must ensure safe access and egress.  All parts of the port should be kept in an orderly, clean condition. All access and emergency routes and operational areas must be kept free of objects and materials that may result in accident and injury.



Coleman Legal have received instructions from clients who have suffered great loss due to work related hardships. If you have been affected somehow, and if you have been affected by a workplace fatality, you can contact our employment liablity solicitors to discuss how to vindicate your rights. Nonetheless, if you are unsure about work-related hazards or what constitutes a work-related injury, you can read more here Accident at Work – Work injury.


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Workplace fatality in Dublin port

Ian O'Reilly

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