March lorry driver sues for damages of £300,000 at High Court over electrocution

PUBLISHED: 14:33 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:45 29 November 2018

Incident at Block Fen Mepal where Mr Chisholm suffered

Incident at Block Fen Mepal where Mr Chisholm suffered "severe burn injuries". Picture: CAMBS FIRE AND RESCUE

Archant

A March lorry driver who had to have a leg amputated after his tipper lorry hit overhead power cables is suing for £300,000 damages at the High Court.

Incident at Block Fen Mepal where Mr Chisholm suffered Incident at Block Fen Mepal where Mr Chisholm suffered "severe burn injuries". Picture: CAMBS FIRE AND RESCUE

Gary Chisholm, 45, of Lake Close, March, was clearing grain from the truck in Block Fen Drove on 11 February 2016, the court heard.

He was flown to Addenbrooke’s following the incident and was treated for serious injuries including burns and spinal injuries.

In court coverage from BBC Cambridgeshire it was claimed that D&R Hankins Ltd’s risk assessment was “inadequate”.

The company denied health and safety breaches and said there was “no need to activate the tipping mechanism”.

Incident at Block Fen Mepal where Mr Chisholm suffered Incident at Block Fen Mepal where Mr Chisholm suffered "severe burn injuries". Picture: CAMBS FIRE AND RESCUE

Judge Jeremy Johnson QC was told Mr Chisholm was driving a Scania R440 Tractor Unit with a tipper trailer.

The court heard he suffered injuries of “great severity” to his lower limbs, stomach and right arm, and later had his right leg amputated below the knee.

Mr Lawson claimed D&R Hankins’ “breaches of duty in this case were manifold and serious”, and that the company’s pre-accident risk assessment was “woefully inadequate”.

Lawyers for D&R Hankins denied any health and safety lapses, and said the driver had failed to adopt the “well-known” and “taught” practice for cleaning trailers between loads.

A writ issued at the High Court in London last December detailed the extent of the horrific accident.

It claimed that as Mr Chisholm walked near the lorry’s rear he suffered severe electrical shock and burns as the trailer touched, or almost touched, overhead power cables.

He now suffers from pain, and psychological injury in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks, and depression. He is also handicapped on the open labour market and has lost earning capacity.

The writ accuses his employers of negligence and claims they failed to assess risks from overhead power lines, failed to give him enough information over working near overhead power lines, and failed to have a safe system of cleaning out trailers between loads.

The hearing continues.

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