Multi-task scaffolder secures compensation after crush injury

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A Thompsons client was involved in an accident at his workplace in September 2020 because his employer, Stork Technical Services, failed to give him the correct safety equipment. His union, RMT, referred him to Thompsons so we could pursue a work accident compensation claim on his behalf.

The background

On 29 September 2020, the date of the accident, our client was working as a multi-task scaffolder on the Forties Alpha oil platform in the North Sea. He was helping move large containers around the platform.

At approximately 8:30 in the morning, our client and some colleagues were lowering a container to the bottom deck of the platform. He stood on the deck to help guide it into its position next to another static container while one of his colleagues operated the crane.

However, as it was being lowered, the container became caught on the bumper bar, which runs around the edge of the platform, acting as a handrail. The container then slipped off the bar, and our client tried to gain control of it with his hands. Looking to his left to check whether a colleague was safe, he placed his right hand on what he thought was the container’s door, but he had in fact grabbed its corner. The container collided with the static container next to it, crushing his hand.

Usually, such a task would be performed with guide sticks, which would have helped our client guide the container safely into position, but his employer failed to provide him with any.

The consequences

Even though he was wearing safety gloves, our client sustained a significant hand injury.

Immediately following the accident, an on-site medic cleaned the wound and bandaged his hand. He was evacuated off the platform and was taken to the A&E department at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. The doctors took an X-ray, which confirmed he had suffered a fracture to the first metacarpal bone. The crush also caused a soft tissue injury that would take six months to resolve.

While recovering, our client experienced a lot of pain. He had to wear a cast for five weeks and then, because his hand became too painful, a further three weeks. The hospital gave him some physiotherapy exercises to perform at home.

Because our client is right-handed, the injury and his recovery time caused him much inconvenience.

He was unable to carry out many daily tasks, including household chores. The severity of the pain also affected his social life. He was absent from work for six months while he recovered. He was given sick pay but still incurred a loss of earnings of £10,000. The crush injury also left him with a noticeable scar.

The settlement

Our client believed that his employer was responsible for the accident. They should have provided him with the proper safety equipment, but they failed to do so.

As soon as his union referred him to Thompsons Solicitors, we intimated a compensation claim to Stork Technical Services, whose insurers accepted liability.

We sent the medical evidence of our client’s injuries to the insurer, who responded with an offer of £15,000, which included his substantial loss of earnings. We discussed the offer with our client and rejected the offer. The defender then made a further offer of £16,000. We discussed this sum with our client, and, believing it to be reasonable, he accepted the offer.

The case was settled on 16 November 2022.

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