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Death of quarry worker accidental, inquest finds

Douglas Courthouse
The inquest was held over two days at Douglas Courthouse

A man who was crushed by a large slab of granite was fatally injured in an accident, a coroner has ruled.

Nathan Harvey died in hospital after he was injured at Pooil Vaaish Black Limestone Ltd’s site in Ballasalla on 21 June 2022.

The inquest at Douglas Courthouse heard the 30-year-old had not received appropriately supervised training when he was taken on by the company the year before.

The firm was previously fined £60,000 after admitting two health and safety breaches. The coroner recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

The inquest heard the married father of two, who lived in St John's, had been employed by Pooil Vaaish Quarry Ltd, but had been working at Pooil Vaaish Black Limestone Ltd’s site on the day.

Although a separate small firm, it had the same key personnel, Rosemary and Leonard Glassey, and his employment required him to work across both sites.

The hearing heard Mr Harvey should have had four days of fully supervised training when he started with the firm in October 2021.

Although the training records showed he had, that had not taken place and most of what he had learned about the work had been through on the job training, the inquest heard.

'Unsurvivable'

The court heard Mr Harvey was a hard worker and was well thought of by those who met him.

On the day of the incident, he was working with a colleague in the yard moving a large granite slab into the workshop.

The inquest heard the slab had moved towards him, clipping the A-frame of another nearby piece of granite which also fell in a “brief domino effect”, leaving Mr Harvey trapped between the two slabs.

Mr Harvey could not have reasonably been expected to be able to hold the weight of the slab which had tipped towards him, the hearing was told.

The inquest heard an industry bulletin covering the moving of heavy objects had stipulated that no employee should be in the hazard zone during the handling of the slabs, which is where Mr Harvey had been standing when it fell.

Coroner James Brooks said he was satisfied that if Mrs Glassey had been aware of that bulletin it would have been added to the risk assessment for the work.

The inquest heard Mrs Glassey was in charge of health and safety at the firms but did not have any formal qualifications, however she had enlisted the assistance of a consultancy firm on that front.

The hearing also heard that the weight of the slab being handled on the day of the incident would have required more than two workers, but since neither was experienced in moving such large items “the system of work utterly fell apart”.

However, Mr Brooks said both men were “entitled to believe what they set out to do was entirely good and proper”.

But he said he did not find any intent by the employers to create an unsafe environment for staff working at the site.

The inquest heard Mr Harvey's injuries were so severe they had been “unsurvivable”.

Mr Brooks said no wife, mother or child should lose someone in the way Mr Harvey’s family had lost him.

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