An ex-British Telecom worker who was gravely injured by overhead power lines at Catsfield is in line for a six-figure damages payout after a top judge found BT was largely to blame.
“Careful” cherry picker operator, Ian Andrew Milroy, 55, suffered a cardiac arrest, brain damage and burns when he was shocked at Powdermill Lane.
Through his wife, Sharon, he launched a compensation claim against BT saying it was “negligent” and breached the duty of care it owed him.
A senior judge at London’s High Court ruled BT bore the lion’s share of the blame for the injuries inflicted on Mr Milroy, of Biggin Hill, Kent.
He had received “inadequate” training, Mr Justice William Davis ruled.
The court heard he was called to help a colleague who was checking a fault on a carrier pole, on August 26, 2009.
Mr Milroy - who had worked for BT for more than 20 years was elevated in the cherry picker mounted on the back of a transit van.
When a woman with a horse asked them to move the vehicle so she could pass, Mr Milroy obliged but his arm came into contact with a high voltage power line.
His barrister, Malcolm Duthie said: “His heart stopped, he had a seizure and was badly burnt to the back of his head and his right arm.
He also suffered fractures to his back and a traumatic brain injury, which has left him “flustered and anxious”, with continuing anxiety and depression.
He and the ground support worker were both dismissed after the accident for “not following BT’s procedures”, the court heard during the case. BT insisted Mr Milroy was entirely to blame.
However, the judge ruled that he was given “insufficient” training to ensure he knew about a “very significant change” to BT’s safety at work practices, introduced in 2007.
“I conclude the training given to Mr Milroy was not adequate. Mr Milroy was known as a good and careful mobile elevated platform operator.
The use of a hoist was in any event “unnecessary”, the judge added. “On the day after the accident, the relevant repair was carried out using a ladder.”
The telecoms giant was ruled two-thirds responsible for Mr Milroy’s accident.