Tuesday 24 April 2018

Worker electrocuted on building in €5.2m settlement

Tim Healy

A MAN who suffered devastating injuries when he was electrocuted working on a building site has settled his High Court action for €5.2m.

Nicholas Crabbe (24) has been left brain damaged and has difficulty speaking as a result of the accident in which a steel lamp pole he was holding became live when it came in to contact with a high voltage overhead power line.

The young man, who also now has to use a wheelchair, suffered severe full thickness  burns and had to have some fingers and toes amputated.

The accident happened when he was putting in metal poles for lighting at the IDA industrial park outside Dundalk, Co Louth, on January 14, 2008.

Mr Crabbe(24), Ventry Road, Cabra, Dublin, through his mother Pauline, sued his employers AI Read Electrical Company  Ltd with offices at Lorcan Grove, Santry, Dublin and Hydro Excavation (Ireland) Ltd with offices at Castle Buildings , Damastown, Mulhuddart, Dublin.  He also sued the main contractor on the site, Kilwex Ltd with offices at Pacelli House, Pacelli Road, Naas, Co Kildare. Liability was admitted.

It was claimed that Mr Crabbe's employers were responsible for the operation, management and direction of  him in his work and had a duty to provide him with a safe place of work and a duty not to expose him to a risk of of danger.

Kilwex, it was claimed, was obliged to ensure the site was safe and without risk of injury to the safety, health  and welfare of Mr Crabbe  when working on the construction site.

The court heard that during  the course of his work, the steel lamp pole, suspended from a crane and being manoeuvred in to place in to a ground socket, came in to contact with a live overhead power line.

Turlough O'Donnell SC, for Mr Crabbe, said the high voltage electricity cable had not been disconnected and Mr Crabbe was very severely electrocuted.

He later suffered two heart attacks which caused a deprivation of oxygen to the brain .

While he was in a wheelchair now, with physiotherapy, he could  walk up to fifty metres with a  rollametre.

His speech he said has also been affected  but he is currently doing a course in cooking.

He was in a coma after the accident and gradually emerged from it over a four week period. He spent nine months in the National Rehabilitation Hospital after that.

Counsel said Mr Crabbe was supported by his family and a marvellous mother who had given up her own work to care for her son day and night.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine said she had no hesitation in approving the €5.2m settlement.

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