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Accidental death verdict in case of quarry worker who was crushed by falling stone

Coroner highlights 'a number of failings' at Ballasalla site

*A warning that this story contains information which some readers may find upsetting.

A verdict of accidental death has been recorded at the inquest of a quarry worker who was killed by a piece of falling stone.

At Douglas Courthouse today (7 February) Nathan James Harvey’s inquest was concluded with the coroner of inquests telling his family no one should go to work and not return home.

The 30-year-old died at Noble’s Hospital, on 21 June 2022, after a slab of granite – which he was helping to move – fell on him at the Pooil Vaaish Black Limestone headquarters in Ballasalla.

The former British Army mechanic, and father-of-two, suffered crush injuries which were described as being ‘unsurvivable from the moment they occurred’.

Yesterday the court heard Pooil Vaaish Black Limestone was not operating safe systems of work at the time of the incident – you can find out more HERE.  


Today Coroner James Brooks said it was clear that risk assessments for the movements of slabs were ‘incomplete’ and the company was unaware of guidance issued by the Health and Safety Executive.

Mr Harvey’s training, he found, had been ‘on the job’ and by learning from others ‘and little, if anything, more’.

Records, provided to the Health and Safety Inspectorate, suggested the St John’s man had received four days of training at the beginning of his employment in October 2021.

These, Coroner Brooks said, were incorrect or ‘quite seriously misleading’ and showed the ‘apparent casualness’ that the company had taken to the safety of Mr Harvey as an employee.

“It’s clear to me Nathan worked hard. It’s clear he was well thought of by all who met him.” James Brooks (Coroner of Inquests)

He noted too that the company owner, Rosemary Glassey, had no health and safety training or qualifications despite being in charge of health and safety.

Yesterday Mrs Harvey’s advocate had put it to her that it meant it was ‘the blind leading the blind’ – today Coroner Brooks told the court: “There is perhaps a ring of truth to that suggestion.”

However he said he did not believe the owners of Pooil Vaaish Black Limestone were deliberately, or knowingly, trying to run an unsafe site.


Describing the system of work at the site on the day of the fatal incident as ‘utterly’ falling apart Coroner Brooks told the court: “Nathan played no part in how the slab came to fall.”

He said based on the evidence, provided to the court from Mr Harvey’s colleague, the two employees would have been satisfied that moving the slab was a job they could do.

However he agreed with the Health and Safety Inspectorate’s evidence that it was ‘entirely unrealistic’ to expect Mr Harvey to be able to support the weight of the slab alone.

“Nathan would have rarely, if ever moved such a large slab.” – James Brooks (Coroner of Inquests)

“The effects were catastrophic,” the coroner told the court, adding that moving the stone had caused an ‘albeit brief domino effect’ before Mr Harvey became trapped underneath it.  


Recording a verdict of accidental death Coroner Brooks said there were ‘a number of failings at the site’ which he had to take into consideration.

He added that Mr Harvey’s case had highlighted the importance of health and safety in the workplace saying ‘if any good can come from his death’ it would be an increased awareness of this.

In May last year Pooil Vaaish Black Limestone was sentenced after being convicted of two health and safety offences – you can find out more HERE.

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