An accident at work leaves a man disabled and a prosecution of a West Yorkshire firm by the Health and Safety Executive.
Expert personal injury lawyer, Vicki Wright said, “Mark Priestley, 34, had a 6.5 tonnes steel beam fall onto his back, which pinned him against a skip at the Halifax factory of Elland Steel Structures Ltd in January 2011.”
“The weight of the beam crushed Mr Priestley’s spine and torso. This has left him with irreversible damage to his spine and nerves.”
“He was hospitalised for 5 months. Although he has regained some movement in his legs, he is largely confined to a wheelchair and still needs intensive therapy. He is unlikely to be able to work again.”
Mr Priestley was working with a colleague to weld pin connections to a 23 metre long beam. The beam needed to be rotated several times in order for the welding to be done that meant lifting it using chain slings.
The HSE investigated and found that it was likely that one or both of the chain slings next to the beam had snagged it as it was about to be lifted in preparation for slinging. As the chain was being raised, it caught the beam which then became unbalanced and fell sideways onto Mr Priestley’s back as attempted to get out of the way.
The investigation also revealed that the company failed to assess the risks of lifting operations, so the workers were not properly planned or supervised. The chain slings and the technique used were also found to be unsuitable for the load.
The company’s failings have led to Mr Priestley and his family’s life being devastated and he has been left with a permanent disability.
Vicki Wright says, “Had the company fulfilled its responsibility to fully assess the risks involved in heavy lifting and put adequate measures in place to address those risks, this life changing accident at work could have been prevented.”
HSE’s latest statistics for 2011/2012 show that there were 31 deaths; more than 3,400 major injuries; and 14,000 minor injuries recorded by the manufacturing industry.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident at work that was not your fault, you may be entitled to claim for personal injury and any associated losses.
We offer you free initial advice and work on a no win no fee basis, so call Vicki Wright or Melanie Lidstone Land for free on 0800 0351 999.