A wall collapsed on a man in Littleborough.
The accident occurred at West Pennine Carpets Ltd.’s site at Python Works. The man who suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident at work was 39-year-old Arron Ridings. He was pinned to the floor when the wall collapsed and suffered a broken back, hip, pelvis and leg.
The accident at work will probably affect Mr Ridings for the rest of his life. He was in a wheelchair for eight weeks and then used crutches for another seven months. It is unlikely he will be able to continue with a career in manual work.
West Pennine Carpets Ltd should not have relied on the verbal assurances of the builder who they contracted to build a couple of walls using concrete blocks. He claimed that the walls would be strong enough to withstand the weights of dozens of carpets rolled up and stored, in between the walls, leaning against their side.
The walls were not designed to cope with this weight. Mr Ridings noticed that one of the walls was even leaning to the side and reported this to the company director. Half of the carpets which were stacked against the wall were then removed, but no further investigation took place.
The carpet company should have improved the stability of the walls at this point. Instead, they just removed some of the carpets temporarily. On the day of the accident, more carpet rolls were added to those which remained there. The remaining space between the walls was filled up with around 375 square meters worth of carpet.
Before the walls were even built West Pennine Carpets Ltd should have consulted an independent structural engineer or alternatively carried out their own detailed design calculations. They were ordered to pay £10,000 in persecution costs and were fined £16,500 after pleading guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Matthew Tomlinson is a Senior Personal Injury Lawyer specialising in work accident compensation claims for Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
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