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Truck dealer fined for crane error

Irish truck distributor J Harris Assemblers has been fined €20,000 for selling on a loader crane that had been involved in a fatal accident without fixing the issue that allowed the fatality to happen.

J Harris Assemblers had originally sold the truck and loader crane, which had been fitted with a grab, to South Midland Construction, in November 2002 one of its employees was killed after being struck by the crane. South Midland was fined €100,000 after it was found to have removed sensors that should have prevented the crane from slewing into the operator’s zone.

J Harris bought the crane back from South Midland in September 2003 and then sold it on to SBC Utilities without re-installing the missing safety sensors. The missing sensors were discovered during an inspection in 2004, but the decision to prosecute was not take until 2008.

J Harris pleaded guilty top selling the crane without having inspected it properly as required by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989.

The judge Martin Nolan said there was an obvious defect when it was sold on and that it was no excuse that Harris did not specialise in cranes. He said he accepted that the company probably didn't know exactly what had caused the man's death when it resold the vehicle but that a thorough inspection should have been carried out. It was fined €20,000 plus ordered to pay the prosecution’s costs.