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Broken bones sustained during an accident at work may lead to a man claim compensation from his former employers' liability insurance company.
The unnamed maintenance engineer suffered fractures to his spine and heel bone when he fell from a height of approx. three metres while working at Dovecote Park in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, in July 2011.
At the time of this accident at the food company, which supplies beef to the Waitrose supermarket chain from more than 1,000 farms across the UK, the man was replacing lights in one of the premise's large chillers.
He was using a stepladder which was set on wooding boarding and metal rafters to reach the fittings, which subsequently gave way and caused him to fall to the ground below.
An investigation conducted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) established that this project had not been correctly planned and was also not properly supervised, meaning the engineer was put in danger by the negligence of his employer.
Consequently, the HSE prosecuted Dovecote Park on the basis it is liable for the man's injuries and the organisation has now admitted breaching regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 during a case heard at Lincoln Crown Court.
The company was therefore issued with a £25,000 fine for its failings. The injured man may now also decide to take personal action against it as the severity of his injuries caused him to take several months off work before he returned to continue in the same job.
Under the law the engineer can claim compensation for broken bones, pain and suffering, expenses and for lost pay. However, the after-effects of his accident meant he could not carry out his work and he resigned from the company shortly after.
Scott Wayne, inspector for the HSE, said the man's injuries were "life-changing". "Working at height is a high-risk job that must be properly planned. Changing light bulbs was a foreseeable task, yet the company had never considered how they would, or should, carry it out," he added.
Posted by Emily Swanson
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