Forklift Driver Killed in Workplace Accident

A 21 year old forklift operator was killed in an accident in his workplace, Sean Ward Fish Exports in Killybegs, an inquest heard today. 

Kara Mc Cole was struck by a hydraulic cable as he was moving a box of fish trapped in a packing, on January 10, 2015. He died within minutes. 

The machine Mr Mc Cole was using, did not conform to all recommended standards, a safety officer said.  He told the inquest how it had emergency stops but it had no sensitive devices to prevent unauthorised access. Those facilities have now been installed following the tragedy in 2015. 


The inquest heard that Kara, of Lower Cranny, Inver, wasn’t trained by the Norwegian makers of the machine because he wasn’t working in the company when it was installed. But he was trained and monitored by work-mates.

William Gaffney, the Health and Safety Authority Inspector told Peter Nolan, BL, representing the McCole family: “I am happy he was trained adequately on that machine.”

Mr Nolan responded: “I don’t accept that. It’s a matter for the jury as to whether or not he was trained properly.”

Kara’s parents Donnie and Bernadine McCole heard factory floor worker Fergal Heena tell how he heard two desperate roars. He saw Kara’s abandoned forklift. He and colleagues found Kara under the palletiser machine.

The jury of five returned a verdict in accordance with medical evidence that death was due to severe brain injury as a result of pressure to the head from contact with an industrial machine. They ruled it was an accident and made no recommendation on their finding.

Later, Mr Nolan said the family had initiated civil proceedings against Sean Ward Fish Exports and the Norwegian makers of the machine.

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