Northern Ireland companies fined after car crush
Two companies have been issued with heavy fines for health and safety breaches which led to an employee sustaining crush injuries.
A Crown Court Judge determined complacency on the parts of both Traynors Ltd and Creightons of Finaghy Ltd led to the breaches, which in turn led to the incident in November 2015.
Traynors was fined £20,000, while Creightons was issued with an £18,000 penalty.
Belfast Crown Court heard that on November 27, 2015, a recovery vehicle driver employed by Traynors had both his shoulders broken and his pelvis shattered when a Ford Ka fell on him during a vehicle loading operation.
The Ford fell from the back of the transporter at a garage owned by Creightons at Belfast's Diamond Gardens.
The recovery vehicle driver was sent to collect three vehicles and the incident happened when a Honda which had not been secured properly on the transporter moved forward during the loading process. This led to the Ford Ka falling from the transporter and injuring the driver.
A Crown prosecutor said that when an investigation was launched, both companies co-operated fully and "both met their obligations by pleading guilty" to a range of offences under the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978.
Creightons of Finaghy admitted three offences and Dungannon-based Traynors Ltd admitted five offences.
It emerged during yesterday's hearing that since the incident, a new system has been developed and adopted by both companies for loading recovery vehicles.
A barrister for Creightons said that in its many years in operation, the local company had an "unblemished record" when it came to health and safety.
A barrister representing Traynors said that this was not a "deliberate or flagrant breach", and that the firm had been compliant with health and safety for over eight decades.
Regarding the injured employee, the court heard that he began working with his employer in 2006, and hoped to return to work in the near future.
Fining both companies, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC said there was "almost a sense of complacency present" between the two firms, adding that the incident was "almost an inevitability."