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Sheffield man wins £4,750 settlement from employer

Forklift truck accident at work


A Sheffield man has been awarded £4,750 by his employers in an out of court settlement after suffering deep cuts through trapping his head in a freak forklift truck accident.

Bruce Tombsryder, 38, of Handsworth Grange Road, a driver for Batley's Cash & Carry, in Bawtry Road, Tinsley, lacerated his ears after slipping in the forklift truck's cab and squashing his head between its roof and mast.

Accident at work solicitor

His payout was secured with help from Lisa Fairclough, an accident at work solicitor, of the personal injury team at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, based at its new Riverside offices in Sheffield.

At the time of the accident Mr Tombsryder was filling shelves in the pet food warehouse, using a reach fork extension on the trucks mast to move pallets of stock.

He said: "I had taken a pallet from a top shelf, approximately eight feet from the ground, and wanted to get a better look at what products were there.

"I needed to stand up in the cab, so I took my left foot off what we call the dead man's pedal, which prevents the controls of the fork lift from operating."

Trapped head accident at work

"On standing up I slipped and put a hand out to save my fall. My hand came into contact with the controls, causing the mast to move towards me, quickly closing in and trapping my head between the roof of the cab and the mast.

"I managed to reach a lever that moved the mast to one side, allowing me to release my head, even though the controls shouldn't have been operational, as my foot was not on the dead man's pedal."

Cuts to ears caused at work

"My head was bleeding badly and I went to find a colleague, who then called the company's first aiders. They told me I had severely cut my ears."

An ambulance was called and Mr Tombsryder was taken to Rotherham District General Hospital where he waited in casualty for four hours. X-rays were taken and established he had not fractured his skull, but he was told he would have to wait several more hours before receiving further treatment for his injuries.

In a great deal of pain, he travelled to the Doncaster Royal's Ear Nose and Throat department, where he was admitted and stayed overnight.

The following day, Mr Tombsryder underwent an operation under general anaesthetic to stitch the top of his ears. The sutures were then removed a week later.

After the accident he suffered regular nightmares and headaches for a number of months, and experienced a sore neck, ringing in the ears, sleepless nights, occasional bouts of dizziness and blurred vision.

Mr Tombsryder's accident and resulting injuries caused him to be absent from work for nearly four months and he only returned due to financial circumstances, while continuing to suffer as a result of his injury.

Commenting on the payout, Lisa Fairclough said: "Mr Tombsryder's employer should have ensured the correct maintenance safety checks and training were undertaken and made sure their daily checks were completed every day before staff were allowed to use the forklift machinery.

"If these procedures had been followed, Batley's would have identified the fault on the truck Mr Tombsryder was operating and the truck could have been taken out of use until such time as it had been repaired. Better training of staff would also have assisted on this occasion.

"Mr Tombsryder's accident could have been prevented and he was lucky the injury was not more serious. If businesses ignore health and safety requirements, they risk putting their staff in danger and leaving themselves open to legal action."

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