Accidents at Work - whose fault is it anyway?

Accident at work that wasn't your fault?

Danger can present itself in a variety of ways in the workplace. This is why employers must have procedures in place to protect you and to fulfil their Health & Safety obligations. When things go wrong like they did for Jeff, we were able to prove that his employer did not take all appropriate precautions to keep him safe and his claim was successful.

Jeff was an engineer and had been subcontracted to work at a food factory to assist with the installation of new fridges. The area was segregated off from the functional parts of the factory, but the work was still being undertaken within the factory.  

He had been on the job for about 4 weeks. He was working at one end of the factory undertaking the construction and the compound, where the tools were stored was at the opposite end. 

On the day of the incident, he walked along the main walkway from the construction area to the compound in order to fetch some tools.  In the process of doing so he heard hissing from some pipes and looked up towards the pipework. The pipe had split and smoke was bellowing from it. Jeff did not realise until later that pure ammonia was leaking from the pipe. It blinded him. He could not speak, see or breathe.

Jeff was taken to the main office and medical room where his eye was washed out.  His vision started returning. The factory was evacuated. They had been told to go to a designated area in case the ammonia caught fire but the designated area was where the ammonia leakage was and therefore Jeff received a second dose of ammonia and other members of staff received ammonia inhalation injuries. They were moved to the very end of the road completely away from the factory.

Jeff and his colleagues were then assessed by paramedics in an ambulance. 10 employees were hospitalised as a result of this leak and over 250 were evacuated. 

Later at hospital, Jeff was told that 12 vessels between both of his eyes had ruptured. Ammonia inhalation is known to damage internal organs. He also had burns to his left hand which have now resolved although he still feels tightness to the top of the hand.

The claim was submitted to the insurers for the factory and also to Jeff’s employer’s insurers who eventually admitted they were in breach of various Health & Safety Regulations around leak alarms and emergency response and evacuation procedures.

Jeff was assessed by medical experts and awarded a large sum of compensation. 

Sills & Betteridge Solicitors have a specialist Personal Injury Team with a wealth of experience and we are fully committed to offering advice and support to obtain the best possible outcome for you. 

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