Sentencing To Take Place After Construction Companies Plead Guilty In Court

Lawyer Calls For Lessons To Be Learnt After Worker Suffers ‘Wholly Avoidable’ Injuries As Pole Fell 18 Floors

22.06.2011

The family of a man left fighting for his life after he was hit on the head by a scaffolding pole that fell 18 floors on a Bristol building site say they will be in court on Friday June 24th  to see the companies responsible for his injuries sentenced.

Bristol Crown Court is due to pass sentence on Hoistway Ltd and Miller Construction after both parties pleaded guilty to failing to protect the health and safety of construction worker Richard Chodkiewicz.

The 53-year-old father of five from Lawrence Weston was left suffering serious brain injuries, in need of emergency surgery, unable to return to work and facing months of painful rehabilitation after a scaffolding pole fell 18 floors and hit him on the head whilst working at a the site which is now a Radisson Hotel on Broad Quay in July 2008.

His solicitor, serious injury specialist Deborah Bigwood from law firm Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office is helping Mr Chodkiewicz secure justice, and a care package that will provide rehabilitation and financial security for the rest of his life.

She said: “Richard’s family are pleased that the companies responsible for his devastating injuries have pleaded guilty to failing to protect him as he worked at the site and will be attending Court on Friday to hear their sentences handed down.

“Richard’s life has been turned upside down as a result of the wholly avoidable injuries he sustained that day. Despite wearing a safety helmet he was left permanently injured and will never be able to live independently or return to work.”

During the criminal prosecution, brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) against specialist lift company, Hoistway, and main contractor, Miller Construction it was revealed that the scaffolding pole, which had not been secured properly, came loose as it was being winched 18 storeys up inside the lift shaft and fell to the base of the shaft, striking Mr Chodkiewicz who was working below. 

Deborah said: “This particularly horrific workplace accident highlights the importance of the health and safety regulations in place to protect workers who have a fundamental right to know that when they go to work they will return home safely and unharmed.

“Both Hoistway and Miller Construction should have had in place appropriate health and safety and risk assessment checks to ensure that all employees on site were following correct procedures and had the correct equipment readily available  to do their jobs.

“It is essential now that lessons are learnt from this tragic case to ensure no one else should have to suffer in the same way going forward.”