A screen engineer from Bradford who was injured by a crane at Chester Race Course has secured £35,000 damages. The compensation was secured with the support of his trade union BECTU and their personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors. BECTU is the independent union for those working in broadcasting, film, theatre, entertainment, leisure and interactive media.

On the day of the accident, Paul Bowling, from Shipley, near Bradford in West Yorkshire, was working as a freelance screen engineer for LED Screen Hire Company at Chester racecourse. He was dismantling large video screens at the end of a race meeting. Once the screens were dismantled, the large steel structures were piled up so that they could be moved by a crane which was hired from a company called Crane Hire Direct Limited.

As the crane began to move, the beam caught the perimeter fence which caused it to start swinging. Paul Bowling couldn't get out of the way in time and he was hit by the beam.

Serious Leg Injuries from Accident at Work

Mr Bowling, aged 33, explains: “It was agony. I suffered serious leg injuries – including fractures to my knee and ankle. I’m so angry because it was a complete catalogue of errors. None of the usual briefings were given at the start of this job, and there was a lack of guidance from the crane driver. Also, the steel wasn’t properly secured prior to being moved.”

“I’ve had to have two operations and I’ve been left with restricted movement in my knee. The experts have said that I may well have to have a total knee replacement.”

BECTU Legal Liaison Officer Andy Egan comments: “As a result of this accident, our member Paul Bowling has been unable to return to the same level of physical activity required as a screen engineer and he has been forced to take an office based job within the same industry. Clearly checks should have been made to confirm that the crane was safe and the driver was competent. We hope that other contractors will now take note.”

Representing Paul Bowling, Phil Kyte, from Thompsons Solicitors in Leeds, comments: “I’m very pleased for Paul Bowling that the case has settled successfully. This compensation will help him in his future after what has been a long battle to secure damages in the type of situation where Defendants often seek to pass the blame between each other. Hopefully, it will help other freelance workers to be aware of their legal rights in such situations."