Damages for West Huntspill man who shattered foot in fall at work

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Damages for West Huntspill man who shattered foot in fall at work

19th May 2011

A West Huntspill man has received £185,000 in compensation after shattering his foot in five places when he fell at work.

The married father-of-one - who did not wish to be named - was working for Uplands Retail Ltd, overseeing the refurbishment of the Asda store in Waterlooville when the accident happened on 22 April, 2007.

"It was a Sunday night, the busiest and longest shift of the week," said the 55-year-old man. "We were working against the clock to ensure a number of specialist fridge units were dismantled, removed and replaced in time for the opening of the store that Monday morning.

"As a supervisor of the night shift, I had to rely on the day manager to bring in contractors to help me out on the shift," he said. "My job was to supervise, as well as help with the work and sort out any problems when they arose.

"All the cables that powered the fridges were contained in 'vertical service drops' running from the ceiling," he said. "These needed disconnecting before the fridges could be moved."

The man explained that his employer had not hired enough staff to help remove the framework from around the units. "The only way contractors could safely access the service drops without standing on the units was to use scaffolding, but my employer hadn't arranged for any to be there that night," he said. "It was left to me to disconnect the service drops myself. If I hadn't, then the entire next day's work would have been behind schedule and the moving of the fridges would have been cancelled."

He said that he had climbed on to the top of the fridge to reach the service drop, but didn't realise that a piece of plasterboard had been left there.

"It was bridging a gap between the fridges, but it was covered with dust and looked like it was just part of the fridge," he said. "When I stepped onto it, I went straight through and fell over six feet to the ground, landing awkwardly on my left heel."

He was taken by ambulance to Portsmouth Hospital where he was told he had shattered his heel in five places. He was later transferred to Weston-super-Mare Hospital, where he remained for three days before being discharged on crutches.

"My employers later claimed that I should have used a scissor-lift to access the fridge," he said. "But not only was I not qualified to operate a specialist piece of equipment like that, but also the only scissor-lift that was there at the time was too small to have even reached the fridge."

Mark Luxton, an employer's liability specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP, said his client had needed three operations on his heel since the incident, including one to remove and replace plates and screws in his bone which had twisted and broken.

"During his third stay in hospital, my client contracted MRSA," said Mr Luxton. "He was unable to work until December 2008 and was using crutches for ten months following the incident. Even after that, he still had trouble walking for any distance or standing for any length of time. When he did finally return to work, he was unable to perform the kind of job he did before and was unfortunately made redundant in March 2009.

"The injury the man sustained completely changed his life," said Mr Luxton. "He still suffers pain and stiffness and his symptoms are unlikely to improve. Before his accident, he was more than capable of working 90 hour weeks in a physically demanding job. Now he is limited even in the length of time he is able to stand."

"Four years after his accident, my client has finally won his fight for justice," said Mr Luxton. "No amount of money can make up for the loss of his career, but we hope this settlement will enable him to move on with his life."

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.