Former port employee wins damages claim

A former port employee who suffered serious leg, back and brain injuries when he was thrown out from a malfunctioning mechanical gangway wins damages claim against a ports corporation.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the victim who‘s in his 60s attempted to board a fire tug in July 2001, when the emergency response gangway he was walking malfunctioned, throwing him onto the wharf. He suffered serious injuries, including a torn spinal disc, broken pelvis, hip and brain injury. He was not able to work since the incident and now requires ongoing medical treatment.

The NSW Supreme Court heard that the gangway was held in place by a metal chain via a stainless steel D-shaped shackle to a counterweight under the water. The shackle was badly corroded and was completely broken when the victim stepped into the gangway. The people responsible failed to install the proper corrosion-resistant shackle.

The victim attempted to return to work into 2004 but failed, and was forced into retirement.

The company claimed that they were not to be held liable because the shackle comes from a third party. But Justice Ian Harrison declared that both the ports corporation and the winch company were responsible for the incident. They will have to pay about $1 million in damages to the former employee.

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