Cleaner who fractured ankle after fall from ladder sues for damages
Posted on 22nd July 2020 at 21:48
Before incident employee had sought a scaffold for work instead of ladder
A cleaning company supervisor who suffered a fractured ankle after falling from a ladder while using an industrial power hose has sued for damages in the High Court.
Prior to the 2017 accident, Cristian Ghinescu told his employer Derry Court Company Ltd on a number of occasions that using a ladder for such work was dangerous and sought a scaffold instead but “nothing changed”, his counsel Patrick O’Connell SC said when opening the case on Wednesday.
Mr Ghinescu continued his work because he was told, if he didn’t, “someone else would”, counsel said. “He kept doing it because otherwise he would be out of a job”.
Mr Ghinescu (39), a father of two and native of Romania with an address at Charlestown Place, St Margaret’s Road, Finglas, Dublin 11, has sued Derry Court Company Ltd, Century Business Park, Finglas, and the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, arising from his fall while cleaning overhead pipes in a courtyard of the hospital on June 17th 2017.
He suffered a fracture of the right distal fibia, extending into his ankle joint and was in a cast and on crutches for a time. In July 2017, he was diagnosed with a sustained complication of a deep venous thrombosis. He has yet to return to work and still complains of pain and stiffness.
Derry Court has provided a full indemnity to the hospital in relation to any award made to Mr Ghinescu whose claims, including alleged failures to provide a safe place and system of work, are denied by both defendants. The defendants claim Mr Ghinescu was not required to clean the pipes and did not have to get on a ladder to do so and they also plead contributory negligence by him on grounds including allegedly going about his work in an unsafe manner.
Micheál Ó Scanaill SC, with Gráinne Larkin BL, for the defence, said they will say Mr Ghinescu was trained in relation to working at a height and would have known not to do what he did.
There was a dispute concerning alleged prior exchanges between Mr Ghinescu and a manager, counsel added. Mr O’Connell said Mr Ghinescu worked for Derry Court from 2015 until the accident, was employed as a supervisor and was among four workers assigned to cleaning duties in the hospital. His job was to drive a van towing a trailer with an industrial type power hose and to operate the hose in cleaning an internal yard in the hospital.
The accident occurred on his fourth occasion doing that, counsel said. On the first occasion, he stood at ground level when using the hose to clean overhead pipes in the yard. After being told the pipes were not cleaned properly, he stood on a ladder to do that. On the day of the accident, he was standing on the ladder using the hose, counsel said.
Water from the hose was cascading down on him, his foot slipped and he fell to the ground, suffering a significant fracture to the right ankle. While the defence argued cleaning the pipes was not part of his job, his client would say it was part of his work cleaning the yard as the pipes were dirty from birds and required to be cleaned. The case continues before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.
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