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Victim Relieved As Employer Fined For Breaching Health And Safety Laws

Lawyers From Irwin Mitchell Demand Basic Health And Safety Improvements To Cut Accident Numbers


Lawyers representing a man who suffered life-changing injuries after an engineering machine dragged him through a five-inch hole are calling for companies to improve safety measures to reduce the number of accidents at work.

Matthew Lowe, 25, from Barnsley, was lucky to survive the accident which left him with a broken arm, nerve damage, a torn bowel, a fractured rib, fractures to his vertebrae and a smashed hip joint. He had been working on a large saw and drill machine at Compass Engineering in Barnsley, when a lifting arm became attached to his overalls and dragged him through the five-inch wide hatch in the wall.

At Sheffield Crown Court today (27 July) Compass Engineering and Kaltenbach, a German company which installed the machine, were both fined heavily after previously pleading guilty to breaching health and safety regulations. There was no safety guard on the machine at the time of the accident.

Compass Engineering was ordered to pay a £45,000 fine plus £24,000 in costs, with Kaltenbach also fined £30,000 with an additional £16,000 in costs.

Mr Lowe’s solicitors, workplace injury specialists at law firm Irwin Mitchell, welcomed the Health and Safety Executive’s decision to prosecute his former employer. They are now calling for more to be done to cut down the number of accidents at work.

Sally Rissbrook, a solicitor in Irwin Mitchell’s Workplace Injury team, said: “This was a horrific accident which has been extremely distressing for Mr Lowe, and it could so easily have been avoided if his employer had followed basic health and safety procedures.

“There is also a wider issue that needs to be addressed, as far too many people are injured each year through no fault of their own, simply while they are carrying out duties at work.

“Many of these cases would have been avoided if businesses had followed simple health and safety procedures, and more must be done to protect workers and make sure companies comply with regulations.

“We have repeatedly called for improvements in safety standards and will continue to campaign for the rights of the victims we represent.”

More than two and a half years after the accident Mr Lowe is still suffering from the effects of the injuries to his arm and hips. He has also been left suffering with psychological injuries, which cause regular nightmares and flashbacks.

Irwin Mitchell is now working with Compass Engineering to seek a rehabilitation package to help Mr Lowe’s recovery.

Sally Rissbrook added: “After the suffering Mr Lowe has endured it is crucial that he is able to access the rehabilitation he needs in order to help him recover and rebuild his life.

“Not only has he suffered extreme physical injury but he has also suffered from the psychological impact associated with such an ordeal. It is now vital that he receives the necessary specialist rehabilitation, and hopefully this expert help will make a huge difference to his recovery and quality of life.”

If you've suffered a serious broken or fractured bone injury at work, our specialist serious injury claims team could help you to claim compensation. See our Fracture Claims page or Accidents At Work Claims page for more information.