Dangerous scaffolding injures Unite member

A painter who was off work for three months after suffering whiplash injuries when he struck his head on dangerous scaffolding has received compensation with help from Unite Legal Services.  

The member from Kent was injured as he was walking along a scaffolding walkway after painting a pipe, and attempted to duck under a three foot high metal ‘goal post’, which had been put in place to allow workers to pass under a gas pipe.

He struck his head on the underside of the goal post leaving him dazed. His neck began to swell and he was signed off work with whiplash injuries for two weeks.  

He continued to suffer pain in his neck, which meant he was unable to move his head easily and as a result couldn’t return to work. The member was eventually made redundant, for reasons unrelated to the accident, three months later.

His injured neck meant he couldn’t undertake heavy lifting or drive and found it difficult to sleep. He received intensive physiotherapy and his neck is now healed.

Following the accident he contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a claim for compensation, and £9,250 was secured for the member.

He said: “Initially after banging my head I felt dazed and had slight pain in my neck. I didn’t really think much of it and attempted to return to work. Within 30 minutes my neck had began to swell and that was the first time I thought I might have done some serious damage.

“The next few weeks were frustrating as my neck was painful, I was unable to work and then I was made redundant. Fortunately my injury seems to have cleared up now and I’ve been able to find another job.”

Peter Kavanagh, regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “A three foot high obstruction in the middle of a scaffolding walkway is an accident waiting to happen. It was irresponsible for the employer to even consider that its employees could navigate under this metal goal post safely. Alternative arrangements should have been made to ensure that workers weren’t having to pass underneath.”