One of the leading equestrian centres in the south-west has had to pay £22,000 compensation to a former employee for an injury suffered at work.
Jeff Kear, 54, was on a trial period as an equestrian facilities manager at Stockland Lovell, Somerset, in March 2010 when two wooden pallets he was moving fell on to his left foot.
Despite seeking medical attention, his toe became infected and the top half had to be amputated.
Mr Kear, a retired National Hunt jockey, told H&H: “I was in extreme pain and have,in effect, had to learn to walk again.
“When you lose your toe, you lose your balance. I walk with a stick now and can’t walk that far. The money has been a great help to me,” he added.
He has not been able to work since the accident and has moved into Oaksey House residential home in Lambourn, operated by the Injured Jockeys Fund.
An agreement on compensation was reached with Stockland Lovell’s insurers in September 2011.
Jonathan Rich, the solicitor who represented Mr Kear, told H&H that the equestrian centre had not taken adequate care for the safety of their staff.
“They failed to provide our client with steel toe cap boots,” he said.
“Nor did they make a proper assessment of how the task could have been undertaken more safely. Obviously you can’t eliminate all risk, but you do need to have some common sense and try to minimise it,” he added.
But Mark Hill, who owns Stockland Lovell together with his father and brother, told H&H it was impossible to foresee every danger.
“We have tried to follow the rules,” he said.
“It is very unfortunate on both sides and we wish Mr Kear well.”
This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse and Hound (17 November, 2011)