Compensation for trainee fire-fighter
The Director of Civil Protection has been ordered by a court to pay €73,240 to Peter Farrugia, a trainee fire-fighter who was injured at the Civil Protection Smoke House in March 10 years ago.
Farrugia fell a height of two storeys into a shaft, seriously hurting his right arm.
The court heard that ST Microelectronics (STM) had asked the Department to train and update its employees, including Mr Farrugia, on fire fighting methods. The training was carried out at the Department's Fire Grounds and Smoke House in Hal Far. Those employees who had already had some fire fighting training, were assigned to the Smoke House which was a two storey building which was in pitch darkness and which filled with smoke when a fire was lit.
The building was purpose-built so as to include hazards that would simulate the real dangers that could be encountered in a fire.
According to Mr Farrugia (who had undergone previous training) when he entered the Smoke House the visibility was minimal and down to 20 centimetres. He had passed through a door way and had fallen down a two storey high shaft, landing on his right hand and sustained an eight per cent permanent disability.
On his part the Director said that Mr Farrugia had veered away from the planned course of the training exercise and that Mr Farrugia was responsible for his injuries because he had removed the barrier that was guarding the shaft.
But the court concluded that the Director's assertion was totally contradicted by the evidence produced in this case. The barrier mentioned by the director was a chain attached to both sides of the shaft. Representatives of STM who had inspected the barrier after the accident concluded that it had been installed after Mr Farrugia had fallen. This was so much the case that the dust caused by the drilling of the chain's attachment was still on site.
This, in itself, said the court, was a fact that should cause who ever was responsible to blush and rendered the director completely responsible for the accident in which Mr Farrugia had been injured.