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Top hotel pleads not guilty to breaking health and safety laws

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Harcourt Hotel
Harcourt Hotel

THE operators of a top Dublin hotel have pleaded not guilty to breaking health and safety laws after a worker was injured when he allegedly fell through a rotten board on a scaffolding tower.

Olema Consultants, of 60 Harcourt St, 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.

Prosecution counsel Antonia Boyle told Judge John O'Neill at Dublin District Court that an outline of facts would have to be heard for jurisdiction to be decided.

It is alleged a worker had been erecting a 15-metre scaffolding tower, said Health and Safety Authority inspector David O'Connell.

He said the worker had been standing on the third floor platform level when he went through a board and fell onto the second level. The court heard he then went through boards again and landed on the tower's first level, a total drop of six metres.

Mr O'Connell told the prosecution counsel that 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.

Mr O'Connell agreed with defence counsel Shay Fleming that the worker did not require surgery.

Judge O'Neill was also furnished with medical reports. He accepted jurisdiction for the case to dealt with at district court level and was told the allegation would be disputed.

The trial take place next March, the court ordered.

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.