Limerick steelworker’s life changed forever after near fatal workplace accident

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A LIMERICK steelworker has been awarded €675,116 at the High Court for serious multiple and near fatal injuries sustained in a workplace accident.

On August 9, 2012, John Gardiner was employed as a galvanising steel operator at Shannonside Galvanising at its factory premises at Drombanna.

As part of his work, he was required to move a jig from a dryer and, using a gantry crane, he moved the jig to the dipping kettle. While carrying out this activity, suddenly and without warning, the jig became detached from one of the hooks on the crane. The jig then struck Mr Gardiner.

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The Limerick steelworker was forced into a barrier and became was pinned between it and the jig.

As a result, John Gardiner suffered near fatal injuries, some of which he still suffers from today.

Zinc Processors Limited T/A Shannonside Galvanising, accepted negligence and left the High Court assess damages.

John Gardiner said that in the immediate aftermath, he was left shocked, distressed, in pain and felt that he could not breath. He thought that he would die.

Emergency services stabilised him at the scene before he was brought to hospital and admitted to the High Dependency Unit.

The Limerick man sustained 13 rib fractures and fractures to three vertebrae, two punctured lungs, left haemothorax, a fracture of his left scapula, disruption to his shoulder joint and torn tendons, reduced vision, reduced senses of taste and smell, significant respiratory difficulties and post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Following a ten-day hospitalisation, John Gardiner was left out of work for one year.

In August 2013, he attempted to return to work before suffering a relapse and was out of work intermittently due to his ongoing physical and psychological difficulties.

Unable to return to work, Mr Gardiner ceased employment with Shannonside Galvanising in February 2015 and has remained out of work since.

Speaking outside the High Court, Ronan Hynes, solicitor for Mr Gardiner and Partner at Keating Connolly Sellors in Limerick, said; “John is both relieved and pleased with the outcome. It is the end of a long and difficult journey. This was a very serious workplace accident which resulted in devastating and life-changing consequences for John and his family. He is determined to now move on with his life as best he can.

Following the judgment, Mr Gardiner said that he appreciated that the defendant admitted liability at an early stage. However, no amount of damages can accurately reflect the devastating impact this has had on me and my family.”

“I want to express my gratitude to those who helped save my life at University Hospital Limerick. I am forever grateful to my wife Geraldine and my family for their care, love and support to me during this very difficult time,” he said.