Road Worker's Chainsaw Training Accident Claim - Case Study

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Our client was a road worker for Moray Council at the time of the accident at work which occurred in March 2017. He suffered an injury during mandatory work training. Thompsons were contacted by his union Unite as our client believed the training had been carried out negligently.

The background

As part of our client's work he was occasionally required to use a chainsaw to clear trees from roads and footpaths when they had been felled, typically following bad weather.

On the date of the accident, our client had been on a chainsaw training refresher course, carried out by an external trainer/contractor. On the final day of the three-day course, the trainer instructed our client that he and his colleague would be required to use chainsaws to deal with a number of trees that were "tangled up". At the time, our client expressed surprise at the level of the task presented to them, but he was told he would be talked through the necessary actions.

During the training, a felled part of a tree struck our client causing him to be pushed against a tree stump. He landed face down on the ground and immediately knew he had been injured as he could not breath.

The consequences

Our client suffered physical injuries including to his ribs, shoulder and lung. Following the accident, he suffered PTSD which resulted in nightmares and flashbacks. He was off work for more than six months, losing standard pay as well as overtime/on call payments.

It was the opinion of Thompsons' work accident solicitors that the training activity carried a significant risk and was unnecessary.

A claim was intimated to our client's employer and the training provider in terms of Regulation 3 of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999; Regulation 13 of the Work Place (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 and Regulation 4 of the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992.

Both defenders denied liability. On Thompsons' instruction, a report was compiled by a liability expert who supported the assertion that the trainer had not been properly supervising our client at the time of the accident .

The settlement

Prior to the case proceeding to court a settlement offer of £25,000 was made. As this represented the higher end of what our client may have expected to receive if the case had gone to trial, we advised him to accept this sum.

Settlement was agreed on 5 February 2021.

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