Huge compensation payout after oil worker is paralysed

Three British oil firms have been fined more than a quarter of a million pounds, after a worker was paralysed following an accident while on duty.

The companies, fined a combined total of £283,332, were criticised in court for contradicting Regulation 8(1)(c) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and failing to ensure that all lifting operations were carried out in a safe environment.

The accident happened when the employee in question was removing part of a container that turns crude oil into numerous chemical components, when he was struck by a container holding half-a-tonne of waste material. The object fell a total of 30 feet and landed directly on top of him.

The claimant, a father of three who had been working in the industry since 1991, suffered multiple injuries including a broken back, two broken legs, and a broken pelvis. The court was told how the victim had led a full and active life before the accident, and even helped run two junior football teams. However, since the accident he is now confined to a wheelchair and is coming to terms with a very different future.

Speaking in court, the victim said he had little recollection of the accident happening, although he did remember his co-workers going into the building ahead of him, but as he entered the waste material fell down on top of him. He praised the work of the medical staff that helped him recover after the accident, saying: "It was touch and go at first but thanks to the doctors I survived. Now I have to get on with my life in a wheelchair."

He also added: "I have a simple message for all companies - safety has to be paramount."

A Health and Safety Executive inspector also stated that he felt the accident was "totally avoidable" and that it had had a "devastating impact" on the claimant and his family.

The inspector also said the the scaffolding should have been constructed so that the lifting equipment was away from areas where people had to walk. "This case clearly demonstrates why it's so important for companies to put the safety of their employees first," he concluded.

Have you suffered an injury at work in the past three years that wasn't your fault? If so, please contact Manners Pimblett on freephone 0845 077 0772. 

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