A scaffolder who miraculously survived a 40ft fall has been awarded £90,000.

Trevor Cox, 43, an advanced scaffolder from Newcastle was off work for eight months with his injuries after the accident in July 2007.

He was dismantling scaffolding for his employer Cape Industrial Services, based in Wakefield, at Drax Power Station when he fell through what he assumed to be a metal grating platform. It was in fact plastic demister packs.

Accident caused fractures and dislocation

He suffered from fractured ribs, suspected fractures to his spine, and a dislocation and nerve damage to his left shoulder. He was airlifted to Pinderfield Hospital, Wakefield by Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

His injuries mean he cannot use his arm to work above shoulder height without pain and discomfort and he has been unable to return to his trade as a scaffolder.

He has instead found less physically demanding work as a scaffolding inspector in Abu Dhabi.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

The Unite member contacted his union after the accident which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued the platform was unstable and unable to hold Mr Cox’s weight. They said Cape should have warned him about the dangers.

Cape Industrial Services disputed liability throughout but with the trial impending they settled the claim out of court.

Working conditions were unsafe

Mr Cox said: “I have worked as a scaffolder for 20 years and never had an accident like this before. I found out afterwards that the platform was unsafe but I had been instructed to dismantle it with no warning of the dangers. It was my first day on Drax Power Station.

“I’ve had to give up my trade and I’m now having to work abroad to make a living for my family.”

Davey Hall from Unite said: “Scaffolding is a dangerous job which must be meticulously planned so all hazards are identified. Cape is one of the world’s largest suppliers of scaffolding so it is simply unacceptable that it did not live up to the highest health and safety standards on this occasion.”

Trevor Hall from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Mr Cox is fortunate that his injuries were not worse considering the height he fell from. He has been determined to return to work but unfortunately will never work in his trade again. The level of compensation in part reflects this.”