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Shoosmiths acts for workman who sustained serious fall from height injuries

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Shoosmiths is acting for Mr John Quinn from Lichfield who sustained serious injuries when the structure he was standing on collapsed while he was working on a construction site in in Perth, Scotland, in January 2014.

The construction company responsible, Lichfield-based Clive Thompson Installation Ltd, has been fined £10,000 after Mr Quinn and another workman were left with long-term debilitating injuries. 

They were fitting and extractor fan on a partially completed spray booth, typically used for painting cars, when it collapsed and both men fell to ground, leaving his colleague with serious spinal injuries and Mr Quinn with multiple fractures to both heels.

He was treated in hospital for four weeks and had to undergo several operations. He was confined to a wheelchair immediately after his release from hospital and now uses crutches, cannot stand for long and continues to have severe pain in both feet.  The bones in his foot have now been surgically fused and there is a possibility that amputation will be required in future.

In addition to his physical symptoms Mr Quinn has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.  Clive Thompson Installation Ltd was criticised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) because a suitable risk assessment had not been carried out prior to the work. 

They had not visited the site and were unaware of specific hazards although HSE investigators found that the company knew the booth roofs were fragile, but failed to put a safe work system in place for staff crossing them, which they had to do in order to fit the extractor fans.

The company, found guilty of breaching section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Perth Sheriff Court, also admitted that it had failed to provide suitable training for their employees for working on fragile roofs.   On average, seven people are killed every year after falling through fragile roofs and many others suffer devastating injuries.

Following the case, HSE inspector Norman Buchanan said:

‘This was an entirely avoidable incident. Falling from height is one of the most common reasons for injuries and fatalities at work. The dangers of fragile roofs are well-known and site specific plans for where to secure safety harnesses should have been put in place.’

Chris McKinney, a partner at Shoosmiths  specialising in personal injury who is handling the case added:

Clive Thompson Installation Ltd should have been aware of the risks and the precautions that needed to be taken before starting the work.  By failing to properly plan the work and provide sufficient training, they are directly responsible for my client Mr Quinn suffering serious injuries which have had and will continue to have a profound effect on his life.’

For further information on this press release, please contact Allan Bisset on 03700 86 6736 or [email protected].

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