Dolan Scaffolding, from Raphoe, even tried to develop a new system to keep down dislodged scaffolding boards.
But Health and Safety Authority inspector Kay Baxter, who investigated the death, said the construction company, G&T Crampton, had taken no action on foot of the report.
The scaffolding audit had been provided to management by consultants Safety Solutions on January 12th, 2007 – six days before Eddie Fowler (28), a carpenter from Railway Road, Clongriffin, Donaghmede, was fatally injured.
The father of two died at the Mater hospital in Dublin after he was hit by a scaffolding plank where he worked on a building site at Charlestown Shopping Centre in Finglas.
G&T Crampton was fined €100,000 by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last July for failing to stop building work during freak weather conditions on the day of Mr Fowler’s death.
Dublin City Coroner’s Court was told yesterday that Mr Fowler was making his way to a canteen for his morning tea break along a designated walkway when the incident occurred. An eight-foot plank had been blown from a 24-metre high scaffold in record-breaking winds of up to 148km/h.
Ms Baxter said in the 10 days prior to the fatal injury, three incidents of scaffolding being dislodged had occurred at the site.
She said management was aware of severe weather warnings on the morning of the incident. A decision had been made to evacuate the building site at approximately the time the incident had occurred, she said.
Scaffolding foreman Michael Dolan, of Dolan Scaffolding, Raphoe, Co Donegal, which was subcontracted to provide and maintain the scaffolding, told the inquest he had noticed the previous September that the boards were beginning to lift in the wind.
Initially they had nailed the boards down with plywood, but then used metal batten clamps. Despite these, boards were still lifting in high winds.
Three days before the incident, high winds had caused planks and other items to blow around and he had asked to close part of the site. “It was like Beirut down there,” he said.
The morning of the incident was “very, very windy” and there were “boards flying”. “I never seen one like it in my life before,” he said.
After the incident, Dolan Scaffolding, in collaboration with G&T Crampton and the Health and Safety Authority, had developed a new system to prevent planks from being dislodged in high winds.
Thomas Reilly, assistant site manager for G&T Crampton, said the decision to evacuate the site was made by the safety officer in conjunction with Mr Dolan at 9.40am and he had agreed “wholeheartedly”.
He had also approved of a partial site closure on January 15th, when another plank had fallen. But in his statement for the safety authority after the fatal incident, he had omitted to mention the earlier incident. Asked why, he said “no reason”.
The jury at the inquest returned a verdict of death by misadventure. It made recommendations including one that all scaffolding floor systems should be rated against maximum wind speed.
The jury said a safe working wind speed should be established for various scaffolding systems, and an automatic wind speed monitor should be put in place at building sites with an audible alarm system to warn when safe speeds are breached.
Dublin city coroner Dr Brian Farrell said he would send the recommendations to the National Standards Authority.
Tom Ryan, solicitor for the family, said they felt what had happened was “totally avoidable”. “They want to try and ensure it never happens again,” he said.