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Former employee sues Jersey Royal Company after barrel explodes

Former employee sues Jersey Royal Company after barrel explodes

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Former employee sues Jersey Royal Company after barrel explodes


A former employee at the Jersey Royal Company is suing them, after a welding accident in February 2009 caused him to suffer serious burn injuries needing three weeks in hospital.

In a case currently before the Royal Court, Stanislaw Stachula claims that poor working practices, and lack of stringent safety procedure caused him to suffer second and third-degree burns to his face and hands, when he was doing a welding job next to an uncapped oil barrel.

The Jersey Royal Company denies the allegations.

In the court papers, Mr Stachula claims three oil barrels were routinely stored in the workshop.

He says that he asked his employer on several occasions to move the barrels from the workshop, as they contained flammable substances, and were near the welding equipment. He also insists that he always wore a full-face helmet and gloves, when performing any welding jobs. 

On the day in question, Mr Stachula says he was instructed to weld some loose hinges on a metal trolley to be pulled by a tractor. The day before he says he’d emptied one of the oil barrels and secured the cap; but unknown to him, before he started his job on February 11th 2009, a colleague had poured an unknown flammable substance into the barrel, after which he had left the cap of the barrel open. 

 So, the plaintiff alleges, when he was finishing the job, a spark was emitted, and, "...almost spontaneously an explosion occurred."

Welding

Pictured: the incident happened while the plaintiff was welding some hinges.

He says the explosion was of such force, it threw him onto a metal trolley, blew off his protective equipment, "...and (caused) the bottom of the barrel to be blown off, causing a hole in the roof of the workshop."

Mr Stachula was taken to A&E and spent three weeks in hospital. He was also signed off for three months. 

He says he has been left with scarring to his face and hands, high blood pressure and that he has struggled with flashbacks and nightmares since the accident.  He also maintains that following his return to work three months later, he was eventually sacked from the position. 

Mr Stachula is claiming damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity arising from the injuries, special damages, interest on damages as well as future damages resulting from the injuries. 

The Jersey Royal Company deny all the allegations. 

In the court documents they point out the action relates to an incident that occurred over 10 years ago, and was brought just three days prior to the action being timed-out. 

The Jersey Royal Company say they terminated Mr Stachula’s employment in 2012, some three years after the incident, when he was released for gross misconduct, as they suspected him of stealing from the company - something Mr Stachula denies. 

Royal_Court.jpg

Pictured: the case is currently before the Royal Court.

The Company denies any knowledge of Mr Stachula ever having raised concerns about the proximity of the welding to the oil barrels. 

They also dispute the fact that Mr Stachula was wearing the right protective gear, alleging he was not wearing a full-face helmet, or leather gloves as required. It is also suggested that the plaintiff had told the company that he hadn’t been wearing the correct gear and that, "...he had closed his eyes whilst welding the bracket in place."

The Jersey Royal Company have also denied the claim that the plaintiff’s protective equipment was "blown off," or that the incident caused a hole in the workshop roof. 

Ultimately, their argument is that it was the plaintiff himself who was negligent, in that he’d positioned the trolley too close to a barrel which he knew could contain flammable liquids, and failed both to use a protective screen and wear the right protective equipment. 

The case is currently before the Royal Court. 

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