Safety warden sues for £90K after ladder fall


A COMMUNITY safety warden is suing council chiefs for £90,000 – after he fell off a ladder.

Michael Echevarria claims he was left severely injured as he descended from the loft of a community centre in Dundee.

The 61-year-old says he broke his foot and cut his forehead and continues to suffer pain, more than three years on.

But Dundee council say the May 2008 accident happened because he should have been more careful using the ladder, which he owned.

As a community safety warden his duties included patrolling streets and being on the lookout for anti-social behaviour.

In papers lodged at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, lawyers for Mr Echevarria, of Lochee, Dundee, say: “He required to retrieve materials from the loft.

“He used his ladder [and] as he climbed down…the ladder slipped from under him.”

They added: “The pursuer landed on the ground bending his right foot to an awkward angle. He also struck his forehead on the ground.

“He had a fracture on his right foot and a laceration to his forehead.”

The papers say Mr Echevarria later required surgery, and continues to suffer pain in his foot.

Lawyers for the council responded: “The accident occurred because he failed to ask anyone to foot the ladder on this occasion.

“At a disciplinary hearing on 12th February 2009 the pursuer claimed to have carried out a ‘risk assessment’ in his head before using the ladder.

“Following that hearing, the pursuer received a written warning from the defenders for failing to comply with the Departmental Health and Safety Procedures.”

They continued: “The accident was caused (or at least materially contributed to) by the pursuer’s own fault and negligence.

“He failed to carry out an adequate assessment of the risks associated with the use of the loft  and he failed to ensure there was someone to “foot” the ladder.”

The council says no compensation should be payed.

Mr Echevarria could not be contacted for comment.

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  1. Timely article – I just recently attended a seminar in Ontario, Canada that focused on the need to perform a written risk assessment prior to using a ladder. I’m sure most people don’t take the time, but this case illustrates its importance.

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