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Electrician fears electricity after job zap shock

AN electrician who developed a phobia about electrical devices after allegedly receiving an electric shock while servicing a hospital treadmill has settled his legal proceedings against his employer, the High Court heard.

John Martin Brooks (49) of Kilnamanagh Road, Walkinstown, Dublin, took the proceedings against his employer Medivent Limited and PJ Brennan & Co Ltd of Stillorgan Industrial Estate, who allegedly supplied the machine. All the claims were denied.

After talks between the sides, Aedan McGovern, representing Mr Brooks, told Mr Justice Iarfhalaith O'Neill the case had been resolved. The only order to be made was for the third parties to the proceedings to pay the man's costs.

The third parties in the proceedings were RAM Srl with offices in Padua, Italy, who it was claimed were the manufacturers of the treadmill, while Esaote SpA, with headquarters at Genoa, Italy, allegedly sold it.

It was alleged by Mr Brooks that the treadmill was dangerous and defective and caused him to sustain an electrical shock. He also claimed his employer was negligent and in breach of duty for allegedly failing to comply with the provisions of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989.

Mr McGovern said Mr Brooks was employed by Medivent as a service engineer and on June 15, 2005 was servicing a treadmill at Limerick Regional Hospital when he sustained a severe electrical shock resulting in him sustaining personal injuries, loss and damage. The treadmill was attached to a cardiac monitoring machine.

In a statement of claim, it stated that while working on the machine he received a severe burn to the middle and ring fingers of his left hand.

Counsel said his client had unplugged the treadmill from the wall socket but even though this had been done the machine still stored a quantity of electricity inside it.

Mr McGovern added that Mr Brooks now has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and it was difficult to see him returning to his career because he has a phobia about electrical devices and electrical shock.

Court documents say Mr Brooks was initially out of work for two months from the date of the accident. He later returned to work but by July 2006 was no longer able to cope due to the severity of depression.

He stopped working in July 2006 and has been on disability benefit from that time.