Employer’s failure to supply protective equipment and training causes member to suffer injury

A member of Unite has been compensated after an accident at work caused permanent disability.

Paul Kelly, 54, was working on a factory production line when the accident occurred. While working in an area of the factory that had height restrictions, he hit his head on a steel conveyor belt that was just five feet from the ground.

Paul was not provided with a hard hat at the time of his accident, yet all staff working on the production line were meant to be wearing hard hats. He didn’t receive safety training from his employer either.

The impact of Paul hitting his head led him to suffer from tinnitus, experiencing constant ringing in both of his ears, and he also suffered from severe migraines. Paul had to take four months off work, and even after he returned his symptoms were so bad that on one occasion he was rushed to hospital as he could not swallow because of the pain he was in.

After the accident, Paul contacted Unite Legal to investigate a claim for compensation on behalf of its member.

Paul said: “Years after the accident I am still suffering. I have been in and out of hospital and couldn’t return to work for months, which meant I was really struggling to get by financially. I find it difficult to sleep at night and at its worst my condition can only be described as debilitating.

“People would often bang their heads on the conveyor belt but nothing was done was ever done about it. I’m confident that if I had been wearing a hard hat at the time of my accident I would not be suffering like I am today.”

Kevin Hepworth, regional legal officer at Unite the Union, said: “Tinnitus is often associated with exposure to loud noises over a long period of time, but up until the accident Paul had no problems with his hearing. Now he lives with constant ringing and suffers painful migraines, which could have so easily been avoided had his employer actually upheld its own health and safety rules.

“Unfortunately, Paul’s tinnitus is unlikely to ever truly subside and so we made sure that his employer paid full compensation so that he is not at a loss financially to date and into the future.”