A HAULIER suffered catastrophic injuries when part of his right arm was torn off during an industrial accident more than two years ago a court had heard.
John Dinneen, 47, from Ardagh, was seriously injured at the Dan O’Connor Feeds facility, Ballysimon on April 3, 2012.
Last month, Arrabawn Co Operative Limited, which operates the facility, pleaded guilty to two breaches of Health and Safety legislation relating to the incident.
During a sentencing hearing, John Kennedy of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) told Limerick Circuit Court Mr Dinneen - a married father of two - suffered a “traumatic amputation” when his arm was pulled into a conveyer machine as he was trying to loosen some beef nuts from a storage bin.
The court was told his arm was pulled into the conveyer and that he heard a snap as it was cut off.
After the alarm was raised, the severed limb was recovered by staff and transported to hospital with Mr Dinneen, who was working as an independent contractor.
It was re-attached by doctors at University Hospital Cork later that day but due to the extensive damage caused the operation failed and the limb had to be amputated three days later.
Judge Carroll Moran was told Mr Dinneen has undergone rehabilitation since and has been fitted for a prosthesis.
Michael Collins BL, prosecuting, said Mr Dinneen has not worked since the incident and has suffered depression as a result of what happened.
He added that he finds the prosthesis very clumsy.
Mr Kennedy agreed with Brian McInerney BL, representing Arrabawn Co Op, that the offence was one of “omission rather than commission” and that what happened was an “accident waiting to happen given the nature of the operation” at the facility.
Mr McInerney said the company had immediately alerted the HSA following the incident and that it had co-operated fully with the subsequent investigation.
The court was told that significant works have been carried out since to improve health and safety at the plant, which has been operating for more than 40 years.
An improved health and safety structure has also been introduced within the company.
The court was told that Arrabawn Co Op, which had a turnover of €220million last year, was fully insured on the date of the accident and is taking the matter very seriously.
Mr McInerney said this was reflected by the attendance in court of the company CEO, Conor Ryan, and the general manager of Dan O’Connor Feeds.
During the hearing, Judge Moran was given details of an award made against the company by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board after Mr Dinneen initiated civil proceedings.
Mr McInerney said the accident was a “source of deep regret” to Arrabawn Co-Op, which, he said, has deep roots in the community.
He said there have been significant improvements at the facility since and that “resources are not an issue in terms of health and safety.”
He submitted what happened was at the lower end of the scale and did not happen due to attempts to cut costs or maximise profits.
Judge Moran will finalise the matter next week.