In August 2009, Stephen Hampson, a bar manager at the Blu Bar in Tallaght died when he was trapped between the lift car and the lift shaft in a goods only lift which he was using to move between floors.

The Circuit Court heard that employees of the Blu Bar used to regularly travel between floors in the goods lift, despite clear markings that it was not to be used for persons.

James Lambert, a director of the company, who had warned staff not to use the lift for travel and had threatened to sack staff who did,  entered a guilty plea to failing to manage and conduct work activities to ensure the safety health and welfare of his employees as a consequence of which Stephen Hampson died. He also pleaded guilty to recklessly placing the safety, health and welfare of employees at risk.

David McKee, a manager, who used the goods lift with his stepdaughter just an hour before the accident, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety, health and welfare of his employees and also to placing the health safety and welfare of his workers at risk, as a consequence of which Stephen Hampson suffered personal injuries and died.

The Court also heard that an engineer's report following an inspection carried out on the lift after the fatality revealed that some of its safety features had been tampered with and the lift could move between some levels with its doors open. At the time of inspection, it was not in a fit condition to transport goods. Maintenance had been carried out by persons unqualified to do so in the months before the accident.

Following the entering of the guilty pleas, and expressions of apology, the court directed a probation and welfare report on the accused. That noted their genuine remorse and victim empathy. The court noted that despite the €3 million euro maximum fine, a custodial sentence was appropriate. Judge Mary Ellen Ring, directed 200 hours community service for each defendant in lieu of a 6 month sentence, which she noted that they would serve if they ever appeared before her again.

This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.