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Montrose plasterer receives compensation for trestle collapse

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A Montrose man who was severely injured after a makeshift repair job on a trestle scaffold went wrong has this month agreed to a six-figure compensation settlement.

Dean Gamley, 36, was walking across trestle scaffolds as part of a plastering job in March 2007, when one of the scaffolds gave way and he fell to the ground.

Meghan Hoare, a workers compensation lawyer with Slater and Gordon, who negotiated the settlement on Mr Gamley’s behalf, said the incident was entirely preventable.

“Dean had actually raised the matter of the faulty trestle with his employers the day before the accident took place,” Ms Hoare said.

“He was then told the trestle had been repaired and was again safe to use.”

The next day when the same trestle gave way, Mr Gamley sustained massive injuries to his neck and spine, resulting in a spinal fusion and the installation of a spinal cord stimulator as a treatment for his ongoing pain.

An investigation after the fall revealed that the faulty trestle needed a new bolt and wing nut, but instead had been patched up with a small bent nail – which buckled under the weight of the plasterer.

Mr Gamley said that the tasks he once took for granted were now almost out of reach.

“I’ve got two kids and the constant pain and treatment makes being a dad a whole lot more complicated,” Mr Gamley said.

“There are times where I have to ask one of my kids to reach down and tie up my shoelaces, because I can’t.

“To make matters worse, I’m still seeing doctors regularly and I’m off to the physio constantly.”

Mr Gamley, formerly an avid motorcyclist and jet-ski enthusiast, said that he expects to experience back pain for the rest of his life.

“I’ve had to make some pretty large adjustments to my life. I spend more time indoors with books or the computer these days.”

Ms Hoare said the settlement was fair recognition of the life-changing impacts that the accident had on her client’s life.

“Dean was an exceptionally active, physically fit young man with a couple of children when he went to work that day,” Ms Hoare said.

“He is unlikely to ever be able to work again, so it is only fair that he is compensated substantially for his pain, suffering and economic loss.”

Mr Gamley said he hoped the settlement was a reminder to employers that they must prioritise the safety of their staff.

“My life will never be the same because of one act of carelessness. I just hope that everyone working in a trade environment realises how easily things can go wrong when you don’t put safety first,” Mr Gamley said.