'Things are so different now:' Worker seriously injured by falling concrete block in Sheffield speaks out for first time

Abbey Forged Products in Beeley Wood, where the incident took place.
Abbey Forged Products in Beeley Wood, where the incident took place.
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A labourer who suffered serious injuries when a concrete block struck him on the head in Sheffield has spoken for the first time about the battle to overcome his injuries.

Martin Schofield suffered a number of injuries including multiple skull and neck bone fractures, a broken left arm, fractured ribs as well as a significant brain injury when a large piece of concrete struck him while he was helping to dig trenches near Beeley Wood.

The 49-year-old spent two-and-a-half weeks in hospital and has not been able to return to work because of his injuries.

He continues to suffer balance issues, memory problems as well as hearing and sight problems and has trouble concentrating following the incident which happened in September 2016.

He said: “Things are so different to how I was before my injury. I used to do so many outdoor hobbies. I have grown vegetables, kept chickens and used to love walking for miles with the dogs. I used to ride bikes but I can’t do this now either.

“Not being able to go back to work has been really difficult for me as I was always the regular worker ready for anything, willing to work hard and do a good job.

“I cannot thank my family for the help and support they have given me over the last year or so while I tried to come to terms with what happened. They continue to help me on a daily basis and without them I simply wouldn’t be able to manage.

Martin, of Thurnscoe, Barnsley, has now joined his legal team at Irwin Mitchell in warning businesses about the need to ensure the safety of staff at all times.

It comes after construction firm KDS was fined £70,000 after it pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act in connection with the incident in which Martin was injured.

Louisa Winning, specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Martin, said: “The injuries Martin suffered because of failings by his employer have had a profound effect on his life and that of his family.

"He is still living with the aftermath of what happened more than 18 months on and his ability to return to work remains uncertain at this time.

“Sadly Martin’s case is the latest example of the consequences of what can happen when health and safety standards are not maintained.

“We are working with Martin to help provide the specialist support and rehabilitation he needs to help him overcome his injuries the best he can. We also hope that his case acts as a warning to businesses for the need to uphold health and safety laws at all times.”

Martin was taken to Northern General Hospital following the incident which happened at Abbey Forged Products in Oughtibridge, on 8 September, 2016.

KDS, based in Parkgate, Rotherham, was sentenced at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. The prosecution was brought by the Health and Safety Executive.

Martin, who receives significant help and support from his parents, and sisters, instructed Irwin Mitchell to help him access specialist rehabilitation and therapies he needs to overcome his injuries.

He added: “I realise I face challenges ahead, but the sentencing has given me renewed focus to concentrate on my rehabilitation and look to the future. I would love to be able to take my dogs out again for an afternoon.

“I am pleased that KDS has admitted its guilt and I just hope now that other workers don’t have to suffer the pain and anguish I have had to because their employer failed to protect them.”