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Chain Reaction Cycles worker Stephen Hegarty died after being crushed by lorry, inquest told

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 02/09/2015

A father-of-three died after suffered fatal injuries after being trapped between a lorry and a parked trailer
A father-of-three died after suffered fatal injuries after being trapped between a lorry and a parked trailer

A father-of-three died after being crushed by a reversing lorry at a cycling company's warehouse, an inquest has heard.

Stephen Hegarty was working at premises owned by Chain Reaction Cycles when the accident happened.

The 57-year-old suffered fatal spine and chest injuries after he was trapped between the lorry and a parked trailer at the facility near Doagh in Co Antrim.

An inquest into the accident, on August 26 last year, was shown CCTV footage of the accident.

It showed Mr Hegarty at the rear of the lorry as it reverses. The lorry then moves forward and Mr Hegarty's lifeless body can be seen on the ground.

Mr Hegarty, from Millview Drive in Ballyclare, had worked as a warehouse operative for Chain Reaction Cycles for 18 years.

His wife, Ruth, said they had been married for 28 years.

On the day of the accident, they had lunch before Mr Hegarty left to start his shift at 2pm.

The accident happened around 9.20pm that evening, as the lorry was reversing into the loading bay at the company's Kilbride Road depot.

Marcin Racz, a warehouse operator and forklift driver, who watched the incident unfold, said: "I saw Stephen slapping the side of the lorry signalling for it to stop because it was going to collide with the other trailer."

He recalled seeing Mr Hegarty fall to the ground, before he ran to raise the alarm.

Mr Hegarty had been working as a "spotter".

Hugh Millar, a manager at the company, said the role is to prevent anyone approaching an area where a lorry is moving. Spotters should not direct the lorry or go behind it.

The CCTV showed Mr Hegarty at the rear of the vehicle, and Mr Millar said he may have been trying to prevent it colliding with the trailer.

"The spotter's role is to stand back and not intervene," he said.

The inquest heard records suggested Mr Hegarty had not received specific training for this task.

Mr Millar said: "Stephen was well aware of the procedures of the role."

Alan Graham, the warehouse operations manager, said he was "100% satisfied" with the training provided to staff.

Aislinn Joyce, the company's health and safety manager, said she believed all reasonable steps had been taken to ensure safety.

The inquest continues.

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