A construction worker who was buried alive in cement has received a substantial sum in compensation after help from Thompsons Solicitors.

Tommy Clough, 30, from Houghton-le-Spring said he is now too scared to work in the building trade after the horrific accident on the site of the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

He was working as a concrete finisher for Laing O’Rourke on the construction of the hospital’s new cancer centre in December 2005 when the accident happened.

Accident caused Cement Burns and Broken Ankle

It left him with cement burns across his entire body, a broken ankle and post traumatic stress disorder.

His job involved wading through the newly-laid concrete foundations with a vibrating poker, a special tool used to help the concrete set.

On the day of the accident one of the scaffolding poles which were holding up the foundations gave way as he was wading through the concrete. As a result Tommy fell through the foundations and landed five metres below on his ankle.

Cement Burns left unsightly ulcers

The wet concrete poured in submerging him.

It took ten minutes for Tommy’s colleagues to pull him free. He suffered cement burns across his entire body, leaving unsightly ulcers.

Tommy said he will never work in construction again and is now working as a bin man for Sunderland City Council on a much lower wage.

Ankle Replacement may be needed in future

Fortunately Tommy has made a full recovery from the burns. Longer term after three operations on his ankle he has been told he may need an ankle replacement in the future and he required extensive counselling to help him deal with flashbacks and nightmares.

He said: “When the concrete started pouring on top of me I thought it was the end. I thought I was dead. It was so heavy I couldn’t get out of it. It seemed like an eternity before I was pulled out. I have had real problems dealing with memories of that.

“I was relieved when the burns healed and didn’t scar. I thought I was going to be scarred for life. I am now working as a bin man but I’m on half my pre accident wages. It makes day-to-day living very difficult but this compensation will be a big help.”

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following the accident Tommy contacted Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for accident compensation.

Laing O’Rouke admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Mick Laffey from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Construction sites are inherently extremely dangerous workplaces but strict health and safety regulations mean accidents like this one should be avoided. Here the supporting scaffolding was not erected properly.”

This news story was also published by Sunderland Echo and Chronicle Live.