Sheffield Joiner Receives Settlement After Staircase Injury

Incorrect materials provided for employer's request

23.03.2009

A Sheffield joiner who was left with damaged nerves, and in need of surgery, after a drill ran through the palm of his hand whilst he was assembling a staircase on a building site has received an out-of-court settlement.

David Drabble, 61, from Aughton, Sheffield, instructed the Work Accident team at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office after damaging the nerves in his hand.

He was working on a new-build housing site in July 2005 for builders George Wimpey UK who wanted a new system of staircase to be installed in the houses. The type of staircase meant that they were supposed to be simple to dismantle as and when a home owner wanted to take furniture upstairs.

The stairs were meant to be an added-value feature that could be re-assembled relatively easily by tightening a series of nuts and bolts.

David Drabble said: "The staircases were supposed to have been cut and pre-drilled in a factory using the correct equipment such as clamps. However, the staircase on this house arrived on site as one solid unit.

"I attempted to make the solid unit into the new system as my employers had explained. To do this I had to drill through the posts and hand rail whist it was in-situ in order to get the correct angles."

As he was drilling through the post and into the handrail, it is believed that the drill bit hit a soft piece of wood which led to it coming through the handrail and into the palm of his left hand.

He suffered an open wound to his palm as well as nerve damage requiring surgery and has since had to have physiotherapy and occupational therapy to help get over the accident.

Drabble instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell to issue court proceedings. Liability was denied but an out of court settlement of £5,000 has been agreed.

Work accident specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office David Carder said: "David was in agony for weeks, and he still has persistent problems with his hand which means he can’t grip with full power.  He has also lost some of the feeling in his little finger. However his accident could have been much worse.

"Businesses need to make sure they provide their workers with the correct tools and materials to do the job.  In this case David was expecting the staircase to come in a different form and tried to do what his employers had asked of him. If the correct materials had been provided in the first place this accident could have been avoided."