A tradesman who fell from a faulty scaffolding platform, breaking his hip and leg, has received compensation after help from his trade union.

Michael Ramsey, 66, from Dagenham wasn’t trained to work at height. When the accident happened he was working as a self employed contractor for SGB Weldings.

As he measured up a wall for an extension Mr Ramsey leaned across to the right of the platform which, not having been bolted down correctly, collapsed with his weight.

When Mr Ramsey landed on the ground he couldn’t move his legs and in hospital he was told he had fractured his hip, tibia and damaged vertebrae in his spine.

Unable to walk properly for 18 months

It was six months after a major operation on his hip and leg before Mr Ramsey could bear his own weight again. He was unable to walk properly for 18 months.

Shortly after the accident Mr Ramsey turned 65 and he was informed by SGB that they would no longer be using his services. Before the accident he had believed he would continue to work with the firm beyond retirement age.

As an injured self employed worker Mr Ramsey had no sick pay and was out of work when he did recover enough to work again.

Mr Ramsey has been left with a limp and suffers pain from the metalwork in his leg. Two years after the accident Mr Ramsey has found alternative employment, but there are certain jobs he is no longer able to do because of his injury.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following the accident he contacted his trade union, the GMB, which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that the platform should have been bolted down correctly and that the employer should have had training in place to ensure that those they took on weren’t at risk of this type of accident.

SGB Weldings admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for more than £28,000.

Mr Ramsey said: “When the platform collapsed and I couldn’t feel my legs I feared the worst, it was devastating. My recovery took a very long time and it was six months before I could even bear weight on my leg. As a self employed contractor I was worried I’d never be able to work again and the worry about the financial impact of that – let alone the pain - kept me awake many nights.

“It’s a relief that I’ve recovered well enough to continue working and that I’ve managed to find employment. This compensation will help make up for the pay I missed out on whilst I was unable to work. “

Working at height regulations are very clear

Paul Hayes, GMB Regional Secretary said: “Failure to train staff in putting up scaffolding correctly and working at height meant that Mr Ramsey was extremely vulnerable and the worst happened.

“As a self employed contractor Mr Ramsey was particularly financially exposed when he was injured and couldn’t work. I urge all self-employed contractors to join GMB so they can benefit from our services in the unfortunate event of an accident.”

Rhicha Kapila from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Working at height regulations are very clear. Staff must be properly trained before beginning a job. Combine that failure with the lack of training of those erecting the platform and this was an accident waiting to happen. Mr Ramsey was exposed to a trap which is unacceptable in any business.”