Health and Safety in the workplace
Leading law firm Irwin Mitchell is calling for higher standards of health and safety in the workplace after a married father-of-two was pinned to the ground and injured by a heavy clothing unit, while working on a store refit for one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains.
Andrew Marples, an electrical subcontractor, was working at a supermarket in the Burnley area when the incident happened.
The case has now been settled with Mr Marples receiving £4,500 compensation after the supermarket admitted liability. Law firm Irwin Mitchell says the case should serve as a reminder to businesses to ensure the safety of staff in the work place.
Lisa Fairclough, a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, who represented Mr Marples, said: "Andrew's accident is a reminder to businesses to get the basics right. This would not have happened, and our client would not have been injured, had the shelving been secured as intended.
"Employers must ensure that everyone puts safety first and people are mindful of their responsibilities so that others working in their areas aren't placed at risk of injury."
On the afternoon of March 12th last year, 41-year-old Andrew, from Dronfield, in Sheffield, was walking down one of the aisles to collect some lighting units when an 8ft metal clothing rack, which had not been properly secured, fell on him.
The weight of the unit pinned him to the ground until two workers nearby were able to come to his aid and lift it off. Andrew was taken to Burnley General Hospital and sustained a strained back and a partial tear to ligaments in his back.
Andrew was off work almost a fortnight and only able to undertake light tasks for a period after. He also suffered ongoing severe back and neck pain for the next 18 months, including stiffness of the neck in the mornings, lower back pain when driving long distances and shooting pains in his arm.
The pain took its toll on his day-to-day life and he was unable to play football with his son. Mr Marples said: "Although I was frustrated sometimes with the pain I am thankful that my injuries weren’t worse. Had the racking fallen the next day the supermarket would have been open to the public and who knows what might have happened."
Ms Fairclough added: "The unit for stacking the clothing in this instance was heavy enough to knock Andrew to the ground and leave him trapped until two other workers freed him.
"He has now finally recovered from his injuries, but has suffered ongoing pain for 18 months as a result of an accident that could easily have been avoided."