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Construction companies urged to “care more” about employees’ health and safety

A Nottingham-based builder who suffered painful injuries in a building site accident is urging construction companies to take more responsibility for their workforce when it comes to health and safety.

Derrick Worton was contracted to work at a Herefordshire building site when he fell more than seven metres to the ground from unsecured scaffolding, leaving him with a dislocated shoulder requiring surgery and five months of physiotherapy. After the accident, Derrick was unable to work for more than ten months and, as his employer denied all liability, he was unable to access vital interim payments that would have relieved some of the financial pressure he and his family faced during his recovery.

More than two years on, Derrick has now been offered some solace as the defendants finally agreed to settle following the findings of a joint engineers’ report, which highlighted that the scaffolding was of unsatisfactory condition. Derrick’s case raised many interesting issues around health and safety on construction sites, reinforcing that they can be dangerous places to work, despite the tightening of health and safety legislation during recent years.

Derrick said: “It’s been a frustrating two years for my family and had it not been for the determination of the team at Minster Law, who were focused on getting me the help and support I needed following my accident, I don’t think we would have achieved the same successful outcome. Minster Law fought hard to prove my employer’s negligence – I just hope that other construction companies take better responsibility for their workers’ health and safety, care more about the outcome of accidents and admit their mistakes at the earliest opportunity to avoid others suffering like I have.”

Craig Croft-Rayner who was leading Derrick’s case said: “In our experience, many construction firms will attempt to push the blame onto individuals for failing to take care of themselves on building sites. Without lawyers helping these victims to prove their cases, most would fall by the wayside, with innocent people left uncompensated and without pay following serious injury, which could lead to months away from work.

“In Derrick’s case, the defendants denied all liability for his accident from the start, which caused significant strain on Derrick and his family, particularly during the months when he was unable to work. We believe that employers in the construction industry should better recognise the dangers of building sites as well as the potential accidents that can occur, and ensure adequate health and safety processes are put into place to protect their workforce.”