HGV driver left with permanent disability after fall at work

A Unite member who was forced to leave his job as an HGV driver after suffering a disabling wrist injury at work has been awarded more than £220,000 in compensation.

52-year-old Antony Yeomans had made a delivery to a Tesco supermarket in Essex and was walking towards his lorry when he slipped on ice and fell on the ground. The fall caused a fracture to his right wrist.

Ice had formed in the yard as a result of a leaking roof, and although grit had been delivered it hadn’t been spread evenly across the yard, leaving areas of ice untreated.

After his fall, he was taken to hospital where it was confirmed that he’d suffered a comminuted fracture to his wrist, a high-impact injury that is frequently associated with car accidents.

Antony had an operation the next day but he was told that his injury would never fully heal, which meant he lost his manual driver’s licence and his work as an HGV driver was over.

He now wears a strap to support his wrist, but he has been advised that this may lead to muscle weakening in the future.

Antony continued in his employment at Tesco but had to take a lesser paid role, meaning he suffered a significant loss of earnings.

He contacted Unite Legal Services to pursue a compensation claim on his behalf.

Antony said: “My accident happened a couple of days after Christmas, so the yard was busy and had cages strewn right across it.

“The yard should have been gritted effectively but it wasn’t. What’s frustrating is that one of my colleagues was knocked unconscious after falling in the yard before me that winter, but my employer failed to address the problem.

“I’m never going to drive again and the injury has really limited what I can do, it’s devastating.

“The support I’ve received from Unite Legal Services was fantastic, guiding me through the claim so that I understood what was going on every step of the way, which was all the more invaluable to me at a time when I was so low.”

Peter Kavanagh, London and Eastern regional secretary, said: “This case highlights the life-changing consequences of basic safety sloppiness at work. A combination of bad weather and careless practice has left our member with a disabling injury who is unable to return to his job as a driver.

“Antony was protected as a Unite member and had his case handled by specialists who secured a substantial settlement, which thankfully means he is financially stable while he tries to cope with his change in circumstances.”