The parents of a young man who died at work have spoken of their relief as the inquest into his death concluded this week.
After a four day inquest into the death of 27 year old Matt Gunn, of Tewkesbury, the jury recorded an accidental death conclusion – but said Morrisons may have contributed to his death by missing opportunities to protect him.
Oh..? Did they ring-fence his work area with spikes? Order him into a nuclear are with no safety clothing?
No, They did everything they could to accommodate his disability:
Matt had been diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 4 and lived with it for his entire working life. He had previously worked as a paper boy and he started at Morrisons in 2004 at the age of 17.
An epileptic seizure while working in the canteen led to a decision in 2005 to move him to the grocery department. Due to Matt’s epilepsy, adjustments were made by Morrisons to ensure he had a safe working environment, the inquest was told.
Although he worked on the ground floor of the store his locker was upstairs. He did not like to use the lift to go upstairs in case it went wrong and he had a fit while trapped in it.
And when suggestions were made that his locker should be moved downstairs he resisted them, saying he did not want to be treated as a special case.
And so he continued to walk up stairs. His choice, right? Can’t make the disabled feel ‘special’, can we?
Doctor Welland, a University Lecturer and Occupational Health and Safety Manager, told the inquest “On hearing the evidence about the unreliability of the lift, the simplest solution would have been to move the (Matt’s) locker to the ground floor.”
He went on: “Morrisons should have required the locker to be moved to the ground floor and instructed Matt to remain on the ground floor. He had a duty to comply, otherwise Morrisons could enact disciplinary procedures.”
So…they should have put the restrictions in place and then fired him if he failed to comply? A grown man can’t be expected to understand risk?
A lawyer for Morrisons argued that “to impose a restriction that isn’t necessary means the employer can fall foul of equality law?”
Well, quite! I mean, you’ve have to be an idiot not to see the dilemma here, wouldn’t you?
But Doctor Welland said that as Matt’s condition worsened a review of his occupational health assessment should have been triggered
He said Matt’s current occupational health assessment at the time of his death had not identified all hazards within Matt’s working environment and put control measures in place.
“All the risk assessment does is say what he shouldn’t do,” the doctor said.
Ah. My mistake. An idiot, or a H&S fruitcake.