A construction worker has been awarded a £900,000 settlement after being seriously injured when he fell eight metres from the third floor of a site in Canary Wharf.
Rope technician Kyle Hunt, 37, of Orpington, suffered a fractured spine as well as broken ankles and wrists when he fell while removing safety netting as clamps he was attached to, known as beam gliders, slid off a gap in the steel beam he was unaware of.
He said: “I was asked to remove safety nets, so I was wearing full equipment and used three beam gliders to move along the steel. Many rope access technicians would only use two, but I wanted a third for added security.
“I had travelled across seven beams when two gliders came away from the steel. The third then followed and I was hanging by my hands. As I was carrying additional equipment, I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold on. All I could do was brace myself for the fall.”
Hunt was taken to the Royal London Hospital and informed that he had multiple serious injuries. All the fractures required surgery and he was left in a lot of pain due to nerve damage.
He was transferred to another hospital and then in August 2017 was transported 15 hours via road and ferry to hospital in Northern Ireland. He spent a further two weeks in hospital before being discharged to his parent’s house.
He recalls: “I was bedbound and reliant on my mum and dad for everything. I was still in incredible pain and couldn’t even feed myself. It was a very difficult time.
“As the months went by, I realised that I was facing a long recovery and would need support for months and years to come. This made me suffer with an incredibly low mood.”
Hunt moved back to London in July 2019 and during his recovery instructed specialist workplace injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his case.
His employer, Over The Edge Rope Access and Safety Netting Ltd, which was responsible for his safety at work has now agreed to a £900,000 settlement.
Hunt said: “The past few years have undoubtedly been the most difficult of my life and I still struggle in many ways. I genuinely loved my work, but at this point it is hard to see how I could return to meaningful employment.
“There have been many tough times, but this settlement is very welcomed. Knowing that I will be able to continue to access vital support is a huge weight off my shoulders and I just want to continue getting better for myself and my family.
“I also hope that speaking about my experiences highlights the importance of workplace safety and ensures no one else faces what I have.”
Natasha Fairs, Associate Solicitor, added: “While nothing will ever change what has happened, we’re pleased to have secured Kyle his settlement which will ensure that he can access vital rehabilitation to help him move forward with his life.
“However, we would also urge employers in the construction industry to learn lessons from these types of cases. The safety of workers must always come first in any given situation.”
Construction Enquirer September 2021