Family wins €60,000 in damages after horrific quarry drowning due to unsafe workplace

May 13, 2019 in Victim Story

A widow and her five children who lost their father in a horrific workplace accident in 2015, were awarded €60,000 in damages payable by the owner of the stone quarry where he died.

The Falzon family filed civil proceedings against Tlata Ltd, which operated a quarry in the limits of Rabat. The victim had been employed as truck and heavy machinery driver.

The 53-year-old labourer, a seasoned construction worker, had been operating an excavator in a laborious rinsing process whereby sand was lifted out of a large reservoir, containing a mixture of water, mud and sludge, and transported onto trucks to dry before being delivered to construction sites.

One of the man’s sons, testified that his father was an experienced worker who could handle the task that required “patience and care”.

On that fateful day, the weather had been fine, but it had rained heavily the night before, probably causing the wet sand to give way beneath the excavator which toppled over, with the trapped driver ending in the water and drowning.370ed2e2dc891975d84a3058757a969599141894-1557559493-5cd678c5-620x348

An Occupational Health and Safety Officer, investigating the accident, testified over a number of shortcomings at the quarry, which meant that there was “no safe system of work”.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice Lawrence Mintoff, observed that “it would have cost nothing in terms of money” to use stone from the quarry to build a barrier which would have prevented the accident.

Since necessary safeguards had not been adopted, the court held the respondent solely responsible for the accident and ordered it to pay €60,000 by way of compensation to the victim’s family.

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