“Time to put safety first,” says expert after workman paralysed in fall

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“Time to put safety first,” says expert after workman paralysed in fall

11th May 2010

An expert in workplace accidents has said it is time for all employers to put the safety of its workforce before anything else.

Karl Tonks, a partner with Fentons Solicitors LLP, was speaking after two companies and a managing director were fined a total of £170,000 following a Health & Safety Executive prosecution, after a 23-year old worker was left paralysed from the chest down when he fell more than nine metres.

"This young man was installing a new racking system when he fell almost 30 feet to the concrete floor below," said Karl. "He is just 23, but because of this incident he is now paralysed from the chest down and likely to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life."

The HSE prosecuted the man's employers after the 2007 incident in Glossop, Derbyshire. This week, SDI Group UK Ltd and Steel Construction Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

"Far too often we are seeing cases where workers are suffering life-changing injuries through no fault of their own," said Karl. "Every employer has a duty of care to ensure the safety of its workforce. Because of failures to comply with clear and strict regulations - devised and imposed purely to ensure the safety of employees - this young man has been left with a long-term, debilitating condition," he said.

"He should have been provided with an appropriate safe system of work to protect against falls, such as a harness and work-restraint lanyard fitted to a running line, and properly fitted safety nets," he said. "But this was not the case, and now it is the worker who has to deal with the consequences for the rest of his life.

"Employers should pay more attention to the regulations and put safety first," he said.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of accidents in the workplace.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Source - HSE