A son of a man who died in a workplace accident at Dublin Port has said his family were “speechless” after hundreds of truck drivers formed a guard of honour at his funeral following an emotional appeal.
Father-of-four Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Collier, a truck driver from Swords and Raheny died last Wednesday when struck by an empty handler, according to his son Darragh.
Mr Collier worked for a family run transport company based in north Dublin. Darragh said his father, “died doing the same thing he did every day to make a living.”
The popular man was found with fatal injuries at around 10.30am on Wednesday and two separate investigations - one being conducted by the gardaí and the other the Health and Safety Authority - are continuing into his death.
His funeral Mass was held on Saturday at St Finian's Church, River Valley, Swords with his burial being held at Dardistown Cemetry.
He is survived by his wife Trisha, sons Sean, Conor, Darragh and Cillian, his parents Mary and Tom, his brothers Eamonn, Tony, Cathal and sister Selena.
Mr Collier’s death is the eighth this year involving port and dock workers.
Darragh revealed what the turnout of trucks close to Dublin Airport at his father’s funeral meant to him and his family on the Facebook page, Irish Rigs.
He said: "Well to say me and the family were speechless as we came over the bend in the road to see all them trucks is an understatement. I would (like) to say thank you to everyone who took part in it but that just simply wouldn’t be enough.
"As a son to Nicky it honestly made me so proud to say he was my father hearing all the stories about him. Thanks so much everybody from the Collier and Dunne family for what you all did we really appreciated it.”
He added: "Growing up that man got me to share the passion for trucks he (had) and we’d have endless talks about them.
"Trucks were his life. My Dad was killed down in Dublin port doing the same thing (he) use to do for a living everyday driving his truck. He was getting loaded when he got struck by an empty handler and died at the scene."
The Siptu trade union, has called for improved protection for dock workers.
Seventh workplace death on the Irish docks in the last two years sparks calls for urgent action
The ITF has joined Irish dock workers union SIPTU in an urgent call for better protection for all workers in Ireland’s ports — through both regulations and enforcement — after a 50-year-old truck driver was killed in North Docks at Dublin Port on August 14.
The tragic death of Nicholas 'Nick' Collier marks the seventh death of a worker in an Irish port in the past two years.
Published reports indicate a refrigeration unit was being loaded onto the back of the driver’s truck when he was struck and killed by another vehicle.
Paddy Crumlin, chair of the ITF Dockers’ Section today demanded that the stevedoring industry put an end to the carnage on Ireland’s docks: "We call on stevedoring companies to reassess their working practices and health and safety protections for workers. These companies must undertake proper risk assessments of all cargo-handling procedures in consultation with their workforce.
“It's not good enough, it's not acceptable, that workers are being killed because of shoddy safety practices and short cuts that save time and put money in the pockets of those that should actually be punished."
“This is why industrial manslaughter laws are so important because they not only provide an avenue to true justice for the families of those people killed at work, but because the implementation and enforcement of industrial manslaughter laws will force the cultural change that will hopefully lead to fewer deaths at work,” said Crumlin
Jerry Brennan, Ports, Docks and Harbour Organizer for the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union told media this week that these tragedies are occurring with frightening regularity.
“It is beyond my comprehension how the construction industry has had the benefit of a national safe-pass certificate requirement for almost 30 years and yet there is no such corresponding national requirement within our ports and docks.
“We extend our condolences to the family, loved ones and colleagues of the deceased worker. We also hope that this is the final such fatality before the long necessary action is taken to ensure our ports and docks become safer working environments,” said Brennan.
Heather Humphreys, Ireland’s Minister for Business, has agreed to a demand by SIPTU and the ITF to meet to discuss safety solutions.
International reports document port deaths at an alarming rate of more than one worker killed every week of the year.
The ITF continues to work with industry and regulatory associations to develop and enforce solutions to address such unacceptable carnage, including a campaign of industrial manslaughter laws that send a clear message to negligent employers – if you fail to provide a safe workplace and a worker is killed, you will go to jail.