A teenager, who was working on a construction site when a concrete wall fell upon him, has started to claim for work injury compensation against his employers.
The incident occurred in late September 2013, when Connor Watson was working with DJ Laing Contractors Ltd at the Arbroath Flood Protection Scheme. Connor, who was just seventeen when the accident occurred, and his team needed to remove a letterbox built into the arch of the old Arbroath to Forfar railway so that they could replace a pipe.
Connor was asked to remove some of the blocks of the letterbox, but as he removed the fifth, the wall gave away. The structure, weighing 0.46 tonnes, fell onto Connor’s legs, crushing them. Thanks to extensive rehabilitation, the young man has regained use of them, though doctors expect that by the time he is thirty he will be arthritic.
An investigation was conducted by the Health and Safety Executives. They found that DJ Laing Contractors Ltd did not carry out an adequate assessment of the structure on which they were working and, as such, could not engage in reasonable precautions to prevent Connor’s accident. This was a clear breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act, and in November 2014 the company were ordered to pay a £32,000 fine by the Forfar Sheriff’s Court.
DJ Laing Ltd have a “return to work” programme for injured employees, and through this programme Connor was able to go back to the contractors in May of last year. However, his quality of life has been negatively affected – he will never be able to play football again, for example – and is concerned that he will be excluded from the future job market because of his arthritis.
Connor consulted a personal injuries solicitor and proceeded to make a claim for work injury compensation against his employers. His solicitor, in a comment to the Forfar evening news, said that there should be no doubts concerning liability, and the question is actually how much compensation his client is to receive.
David J Laing, Managing Director of DJ Laing Group Ltd, commented that “I confirm that Connor is currently employed by DJ Laing (Contracts) Limited and was involved in a serious accident on one of our civil engineering sites in September 2013. Connor is currently undertaking a return to work rehabilitation programme and the matter of compensation is being dealt with by our insurance company.”