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Health and safety expert virtually housebound after slipping on wet path on Caribbean holiday

A HEALTH and safety expert from the Aire Valley became virtually housebound after he slipped on a wet walkway during his £5,000 holiday.

Charles McKenzie, 56, from Shipley, was letting a waiter pass at the five-star Sensatori Punta Cuna Azul resort in the Dominican Republic, before he fell and heard his back crack “like a bull whip”.

Mr McKenzie, who has worked as a health and safety manager for 30 years, was enjoying his pearl anniversary treat with wife Dawn, but said he had reported the hazardous walkways before his slip because they were “slippy as oil” .

He was later taken by ambulance on a stretcher to a medical clinic and X-rays showed he had a damaged vertebrae. The area Quality Health and Safety Manager (QHSM) says a specialist has now told him if he has an op on his back to ease the pain he risks being left paraplegic.

Mr McKenzie said he could no longer sleep properly or walk long distances due to extreme pain.

He says he suffered the injuries to his back due to the wooden-effect hotel walkway being slippery with no wet floor warning signs.

He said: “This was supposed to be our special anniversary – we can never get that back. I warned them repeatedly about the risks but they just ignored me.

“Now I am suffering every day with the effects. It is terrible. I can hardly walk or sleep on my back and can’t go out and socialise or go to the cinema as I can’t stand or sit in the same place for long. I can’t even do any gardening which I loved. It’s horrible. I am mostly stuck inside. My life is not the same. I have lost a year of my life over this now and there is no end in sight.”

Mr McKenzie booked the two-week holiday for himself and his wife as part of their 30th wedding anniversary treat.

Mr McKenzie said that, after the accident, they put up a temporary plastic warning sign but, despite more rain the following day, it was later removed.

His wife later contacted TUI about his ordeal but, not satisfied with the response, he decided to take legal action.

Travel lawyer Nicholas Lukacs, of holiday claim specialists Simpson Millar solicitors – who is handling his claim – said: “Unfortunately accidents are quite common. But in this case Mr McKenzie was an expert in the field and they ignored all his professional advice both before and after his injury.

A TUI spokesperson said: “We’re sorry to hear of the customer’s experience. As we understand this matter is now subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.

“We’d like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of the hotels we feature in respect of health and safety, including hygiene.”

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