Man settles case over injuries linked to inhaling chemicals

Martin Kinsella said he was violently sick and had further health issues after 2015 incident

A maintenance engineer who sued for damages  over a serious lung injury allegedly suffered after inhaling chemicals at work, has settled his High Court action. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

A maintenance engineer who sued for damages over a serious lung injury allegedly suffered after inhaling chemicals at work, has settled his High Court action. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

A maintenance engineer who sued for damages over a serious lung injury allegedly suffered after inhaling chemicals at work, has settled his High Court action.

Martin Kinsella (46), of The Rath, Swords, Co Dublin, brought proceedings over an incident on July 25th, 2015, in which he claims he was overcome by fumes.

His action was against Ballymaguire Foods Limited, which operates the premises at Rathmooney, Lusk, and his then-employer Country Crest, which is involved in the sale of agricultural materials.

He claimed the defendants were negligent, breached their duty of care towards him and failed to provide him with a safe place to work in. It was also claimed the defendants allowed a dangerous chemical to be mislabeled and stored in an inappropriate location and not in accordance with safety requirements.

The claims were denied and the defendants also pleaded the injuries were caused by Mr Kinsella’s own actions.

Liability

John Healy SC, with Eugene Gleeson SC, Bernard Rogan BL and Aidan Lawlor BL, for Mr Kinsella, told Mr Justice David Keane the matter had been settled. The parties agreed liability at 50-50 between the plaintiff and the defendants over the incident and also agreed a costs order in favour of Mr Kinsella.

The court heard Mr Kinsella began working as a maintenance engineer for Crest at Ballymaguire’s premises in Lusk in 2008 and was responsible for day to day maintenance operations.

On the day of the accident, he reported for work at 4 am. He claimed he was required to make sure the plant’s water system was functioning and was topping up a chlorine solution container, used to treat water in a storage unit in the plant, when the incident occurred.

He said he had carried out this job every three to four months for some years but, on this occasion, there was a violent chemical reaction. He claimed he fell down and was overcome with fumes but managed to leave the room where the machinery is stored.

Violently sick

Mr Kinsella said he was immediately violently sick and his body temperature rose. He reported the accident to management and continued working over the following weeks but felt unwell for some time afterwards.

He claimed he was unable to work and when driving home, felt faint and bumped his jeep off a ditch. He eventually required treatment at a hospital for his pains, aches, bulging eyes, shakes, headaches and sore throat and was eventually referred to a poison centre for treatment.

He claimed he has had health problems for some time and was unable to return to his former job. Mr Kinsella alleges his injuries have interfered with his quality of life, ability to carry out everyday activities and his relationship with his family. He takes extensive medication, is very sensitive to aerosols, cigarette smoke, perfume and his sleep remains disturbed.

The defendants, represented by Edward Walsh SC, Liam Reidy SC and Conor Kearney BL, denied negligence and said Mr Kinsella was the author of his own misfortune on grounds that he allegedly failed to exercise any adequate care for his own safety and failed to follow the training he was given for correctly mixing chemicals. It was denied the chemical solution he used was not labelled or mislabelled.

He had failed to read the labels properly and had carried out his duties in an inattentive and careless manner, it was claimed. He did not seek attention immediately after the incident, it was also claimed.