B&Q Ireland fined for customer’s death

The Irish division of DIY retailer B&Q was fined yesterday for a breach of health and safety yesterday which led to the death of a customer.

B&Q Ireland was fined €250,000 by Judge Patricia Ryan in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after the retailer was prosecuted following the death of a member of the public, Michael O’Rourke.

On March 29 2009, the 59-year old O’Rourke, was shopping in a B&Q store in Dublin when he was struck by a 500kg bundle of lap-panel fencing which fell nearly 4 metres from the top bay of storage racking in the garden centre. He died as a result of the injuries he sustained.

The Health and Safety Authority investigation revealed that the bundle of fencing panels had not been seated correctly on the storage racking and that this event could easily have been prevented.

B&Q Ireland Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 12 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 in that they failed to manage and conduct their under-takings in such a way as to mean that individuals were exposed to risks to their safety, health and welfare which resulted in the death of Mr O’Rourke.

Speaking after the judgement, Martin O’Halloran Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority said: “It is clear in this case that there was a failure on the part of the retailer to ensure that members of the public were not exposed to risks to their safety, health and welfare while work was being carried on. Employers have responsibilities to protect the safety of anyone who has access to their place of work whether a worker or a member of the public.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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