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Garden Centre Work Accident
Shutter Door Falls On Employee's Foot

Shutter Door Falls On Employee's Foot

When a delivery driver arrived to collect some stock, Lee was asked to open the large shutter doors that enabled access to the building. But when the opening shutter started making an odd noise he moved closer to investigate the problem. Suddenly it fell onto his left foot, causing him to suffer a serious fracture.

On the evening of 9 November 2007, Lee was preparing production schedules for the weekend staff when a driver arrived to pick up a delivery. He asked Lee to open the shutter doors that he could access the stock. He had not been told how to do this, but seeing as there was no one around to help, Lee decided to open the shutter door himself.

Fitted within the shutter was a smaller door which allowed personnel to enter or exit the building. Having not received any training, Lee was unaware that this door had to be in the open position before the shutter is raised. He therefore continued to the control panel and pushed the button, despite the smaller door being in the closed position. Ordinarily, Lee's mistake would have been avoided by a small micro-switch which prevents the shutter being raised when the smaller door is closed. However, on the day of the accident the micro-switch was broken.

At first everything seemed to be working as normal. The shutter door was opening and Lee made his way back to talk to the driver. But as the door reached head height it started to make a funny noise, so Lee returned to investigate the problem. The next thing he knew, the inner door had fallen onto his left foot.

The pain was absolutely excruciating and he cried out in agony. His colleagues came to his assistance and, upon seeing Lee's blood soaked foot, quickly called an ambulance. When he arrived at the A&E department he was sent for x-rays which revealed he had sustained three fractures in his foot, one of which had broken through the skin, causing him to bleed. Lee was placed on a ward and given regular doses of morphine. Nevertheless, the combination of strong painkillers and the shock of his accident triggered Lee to have a fit which lasted for some thirty minutes. This made his family extremely anxious, particularly as Lee is a diabetic and needs to maintain his blood sugar levels.

Once he had recovered, a member of the orthopaedics team fitted his foot in a plaster cast. However, a more senior surgeon soon assessed his x-rays and asked for the cast to be cut off as his injuries required surgical repair. This was duly undertaken the following morning, while a second operation was carried out four days later so the foot could be re-set with a metal plate, pins and wires.

After spending seven days in hospital, Lee was finally discharged and sent home to rest at his partner's house, as he was unable to care for himself. He needed help doing even simple tasks such as washing, cooking and dressing. He also suffered severe constipation from the strong painkillers he was taking. For months after his accident Lee was extremely restricted in his movements, finding that just walking a short distance was difficult. It is likely that he will suffer a degree of long-lasting discomfort, as doctors have said his left foot will be permanently flat footed.

Concerned about the impact his injuries would have on his life especially with regard to future employment Lee decided to investigate the possibility of making a work accident claim. He contacted Glynns and we suggested that his employer had indeed been negligent. Not only had they failed to provide the necessary training, but the mechanism that would have normally prevented Lee's accident was broken. We helped Lee make a claim for the damages he sustained, and he was awarded £50,000 compensation.

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