Aer Lingus fined €250,000 over safety procedures

Cargo worker John Murray died from head injuries in 2014

Aer Lingus fined €250,000 over safety procedures

Ground crews load cargo on Aer Lingus planes before taking off at Dublin Airport in 2004 | Image: RollingNews.ie

Aer Lingus has been fined €250,000 for failing to implement safety procedures for couriers delivering and receiving cargo from its warehouse.

The criminal prosecution was brought following a health and safety investigation into the death of John Murray from Skerries in Dublin.

Mr Murray, a married father of two, was found unconscious on his back on the floor of an Aer Lingus warehouse at Dublin Airport on November 5th 2014.

He died from head injuries in Beaumont Hospital five days later.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) discovered that Mr Murray emerged from Gate 7 with some light parcels at around 11.00pm.

Inspector Martin Convey said he fell while trying to hop down from a three-foot loading bay, as was common practice for drivers accessing the warehouse afterhours.

Mr Convey said the risk of someone falling from the platform in such a way was identified by the airline seven years beforehand.

He said a written procedure was drawn up but was not implemented properly.

Judge Martin Nolan described the case as "tragic". He said there was an obvious risk, and noted that people will take short cuts if you let them.

The maximum penalty available to him was €3m - but he ordered the airline to pay €250,000.

In a statement, the Murray family’s solicitor Dermot McNamara said: “Whilst my clients welcome today's verdict, it does little to ease their pain. John Murray went to work on November 5 2014 and his family expected him to return home safely.

“There is no point in Aer Lingus having vital Health and Safety rules if they fail to ensure they are strictly followed. In this case, the failure to ensure drivers used a safe pedestrian option, ultimately cost Mr Murray his life and left a family with a devastating loss," he added.