Saturday 22 October 2016

Lack of safety procedures led to death of crane driver

Stephen Bayfield's widow Julie at the inquest
Stephen Bayfield's widow Julie at the inquest

A crane driver at Dublin Port sustained catastrophic injuries after he was run over by the giant wheel of a machine.

Stephen Bayfield (46), of Balruddery Wood, Balrothery, Co Dublin, was returning from his lunch break when the accident happened on October 28, 2011.

Mr Bayfield, described at an inquest into his death as "intelligent and safety-conscious", was gesturing to a truck driver at Dublin Ferry Port Cargo Terminal when he was struck by the five-feet-high wheel of a slow-moving crane, which rolled over him and then reversed back.

Crane driver Pierce Keogh was in the glass-bottomed cab 60 feet above ground level when he realised what happened.

"I heard my colleague Joe McNally screaming at me over the radio, saying, 'Whoa'. I saw Stephen pinned under the tyre. I moved the machine back to take it off his body," he said.

"If I could turn back the clock I would. I knew Stephen for six years. I think of him every day."

Haulier Patrick Smith, who witnessed the accident from the cab of his truck, said: "I noticed a man in a yellow jacket. He was beckoning me to reverse. Then I saw the man fall forward as the wheels of the RTG (rubber-tyre gantry) caught his heels, then moved up along his body. There was no time to react."

Mr Bayfield was killed instantly due to multiple traumatic injuries. He was identified by his mobile phone and watch.

In June, a judge at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court fined Irish Ferries €125,000 in relation to the incident.

An Irish Ferries representative pleaded guilty on behalf of the company of B&I Ferryport, Alexandra Road, Dublin 1, that it failed to provide designated walkways in the cargo area.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard how there was no safety systems in place for crane drivers crossing the cargo area at the time of the accident, but new safety measures have since been implemented.

The jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure due to the risk presented by the lack of safety procedures.

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