18 May 2018
Workaholic” Father Crushed by 3 Tonne Truck on Building Site
A dad of five who miraculously survived being crushed by a 3 tonne dumper truck in front of his son has spoken about the moment he thought he would die.
Damian Jones hasn’t been able to work since the accident at an Essex primary school last year which left him with ten broken bones and having constant flashbacks.
Earlier this month the 43-year-old, from Burnham on Crouch, saw his employer, S & K Groundwork Solutions Ltd, face a Health and Safety Executive prosecution at Southend Magistrates Court. They were made to pay £28,395.65 in fines and costs.
Damian, who has always worked in the building trade, was part of a team who were preparing the drainage at a new outbuilding at Ghyll Grove Primary School in Basildon when he was crushed on 24 February last year.
He said: “We were working in a shallow trench. I operated a dumper truck which we had loaded full of pea shingle which we were tipping into the trench.
“I’d drive the truck to the edge of the trench and tip the shingle in then I’d reverse, put the truck into neutral and lift the handbrake on.
“I was working with my foreman and we were both standing in the trench. I was spreading the shingle when suddenly I noticed the dumper truck was rolling towards us. I pushed him out of the way of the truck and then the front of the skip on the front of the truck hit me square in the chest and crushed me.
“There was a big pile of concrete building blocks next to the trench and it pushed me up against them. I knew the weight of the truck would kill me. There was blood coming out of my mouth and I am told that I went bright blue.
“My 18-year-old son saw the whole thing – he basically saw me nearly die. He was working with me. He’s still traumatized.”
Damian says it was to his “immense gratitude” that his foreman ran and jumped into the cab of the truck and reversed it. He then passed out.
Paramedics arrived and opened his chest to insert a tube into his lung to drain the blood before he was taken by air ambulance to the Royal London Hospital.
He added: “I was dying. I was in Intensive Care for six days. My left lung had collapsed and I couldn’t breathe. I had serious damage to my chest wall and six broken ribs. I fractured my nose and various other bones and still have a problem with my vision.”
While pain, constant flashbacks and only having limited use of his left arm, is tough enough to deal with, Damian says being unable to work is “horrendous”.
He added: “Before the accident I was something of a workaholic. As well as working full time for S & K Groundwork Solutions Ltd, I also worked weekends on the railways. I was very healthy and super fit – I would work seven days a week so that my family and I could have four holidays a year.
“I live alone with my two youngest children who are three and nine - I’m a single parent to the two boys and we live in a static caravan. I have gone from being a fit and healthy dad who earned good money to someone who struggles to perform even basic tasks in mounting debt. I had worked for 25 years to get to where I was as well.”
Tracey Benson is a specialist in Employers Liability claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers. She is representing Damian in a civil case against his employer.
She said: “It’s been over a year since my client was involved in this horrific accident while at work and he’s been unable to work since. This was a fit and healthy man who worked hard to support his family. Being unable to do this is particularly tough for him to deal with.
“It’s vital employers keep their staff safe at work – this accident just proves that when they don’t, the consequences can be fatal. My client could easily have been killed had it not been for the quick-thinking actions of a colleague.”
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