Compensation Awarded to Ex-Firefighter for Fall Injuries

An ex-firefighter has received compensation for injuries he sustained while taking part in a training exercise during which a ladder snapped, causing injuries that ended his career.

In May 2011, Michael Hollings (46) of West Yorkshire was partaking in a training course in Ilkley Fire Station. Michael had been working as a fireman for eight years at the time of the training course. While participating in various training exercises, a 13.5 metre ladder that he was climbing with two of his fellow firefighters snapped. Michael, who was high up the ladder, was attached to it with an “improvised chest harness”.

When the ladder fell, the force of it hitting a solid fence caused communicated fractures in both of Michael’s forearms, and dislocated both of his elbows. Michael’s right foot was also broken on impact. The emergency services were notified, and Michael was transported to hospital, where he was also diagnosed with a concussion.

Michael had to undergo two operations on each of his arms, and was forced to wear a metal brace for several months following the incident. He still attends physiotherapy twice a week to help his arms recover, but he has been informed by medical professionals that he may never recover full use of either arm. As a consequence of his injuries, he was forced to give up his career as a firefighter. He also had to quit his part-time job as a HGV driver.

Michael sought legal advice from the Fire Brigade Union, and claimed injury compensation for his fall. He alleged that the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services (WYFRS) had supplied a ladder that was not fit for the purpose of the training exercise. The defendants accepted liability for the claim, and offered an interim settlement of compensation so that Michael could buy an automatic car and pay for his physiotherapy sessions.

An investigation into Michael’s future needs was conducted, and a final six-figure settlement of compensation was agreed upon. Michael stated that he was grateful to the Fire Brigade Union for its support during the ordeal, and it was still not clear why the ladder snapped during the exercise.