Between A Rock And A Hard Place…

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.

9 comments for “Between A Rock And A Hard Place…

  1. June 19, 2016 at 9:37 am

    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.

    Digressing a bit, this is also the issue when the elderly fiercely want to be independent, not a burden, but increasingly … [cough] … we can’t.

    It’s also the feminist ‘I can do anything as well as you, anything at all and have this magical cocoon around me so no harm can ever come my way.’ [The Marissa Mayer syndrome]

    It’s also the major premise of Finding Nemo.

    • June 26, 2016 at 7:31 am

      Yup! It’s a tragedy, but the young man didn’t want to be pandered to or restricted. So why make it the store’s fault?

  2. ivan
    June 19, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Doctor Welland, a University Lecturer and Occupational Health and Safety Manager,

    Ah, a nutcase academic that is as far removed from reality as it is possible to be while still on this planet.

    • Ted Treen
      June 20, 2016 at 10:55 pm

      Yup: testimony which is little more than an ego trip by a drone who is probably unemployable in any meaningful productive occupation.

      It really is nothing more than intellectual masturbation:-
      • It gives a warm glow of satisfaction to the perpetrator
      • It appears distasteful to most onlookers
      • It is of no discernible benefit to anyone else.

  3. Lord T
    June 19, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    and they wonder why everyone tries to avoid hiring people with issues. They just cost too much in time and effort for no benefit except a tick in the box.

    • Errol
      June 19, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      He could have been a decent, honest, hard working employee, taken on because he was a competent and capable chap. His death is an awful tragedy. He wasn’t thinking he’d be a buden when he asked for his locker to be upstairs, rather I tihnk he was challenging himself honestly and trying to prove he was a normal fellow.

      I imagine, were he to hear about this he’d be mortified to think Morrisons were being blamed. They were his independence.

      Ah, I dunno. I speak from having a disabled brotherwho is desperately, angrily independent, who works, who lives alone and wants to continue to do so despite his condition.

    • June 26, 2016 at 7:32 am

      That’s the real danger of allowing these sorts of cases to go forward, not the payout and inevitable increasing prices to cover that.

  4. Mudplugger
    June 19, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    In defence of Morrisons, I have known a number of people who work(ed) there, one in particular who had serious and recurrent health problems. Morrisons did more to help him, being far more supportive and understanding than it would be reasonable to expect any commercial employer to be. They have an immensely loyal staff and it’s easy to understand why.
    A company more different from ‘Sports Direct’ you would struggle to find.
    I shall shop there more now on principle – Morrisons deserve support, not this sort of irrational battering.

    • June 26, 2016 at 7:33 am

      I love them! They sell British produce wherever possible, and the meat and fish quality in my local is second to none.

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