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Driver nearly decapitated by flying 14-inch spike

A TRUCK driver who was almost "decapitated" by a flying steel wedge has been awarded €80,000 in High Court damages.

Keith Dowling (38) Abbots Wood, Kildangan, Kildare, suffered permanent damage to his nose and face after a 14-inch long, 6-inch wide wedge hit him during crane derigging operations at an industrial site on March 29, 2007.

Another man was driving in the wedge, using a sledge hammer, to secure ballast weight on a trailer when it suddenly "shot out like an arrow" and struck Mr Dowling.

The court heard the flat end of the wedge glanced off his face and had the sharp end struck him full on, he would have been killed.

Mr Dowling sued Andrew Mannion structural Engineers Ltd, Crane Hire Ltd and Pierce Contracting Ltd arising out of an incident at the Hannover Quay site in Dublin.

At the time of the accident, Mr Dowling was an employee of Crane Hire and was working on a construction site that was being developed by Pierce Contracting where Andrew Mannion Structural Engineers Ltd were carrying out works.

Mr Dowling claimed the defendants were negligent and in breach of their duty of care towards him by failing to provide him with a safe place of work.

Liability in the action was admitted and the case was before the High Court for assessment of damages only.

thealy@herald.ie