Injured member secures compensation with support of Unite Legal Services

A Unite member has received compensation after lacerating his finger at work.

Mr Baker, who is employed as a fitter at Arriva Buses in Castleford, was checking for an oil leak on one of the buses in the depot when he slipped on oil and fell, hitting his hand on a fan blade that was spinning in the engine.

The blade lacerated his middle finger and cut through his nail and nail bed. The tip of his finger was also broken. He had plastic surgery to repair the damage and couldn’t return to work for three weeks. It’s likely he will always have altered sensation in his finger as well as swelling.

Mr Baker contacted Unite Legal Services for support and to investigate a claim for compensation.

Liability was contested throughout by Mr Baker’s employers, who claimed that he should have been fully aware of the health and safety procedures for his role and that it was his responsibility to keep his work area clean and tidy. They also stated that had standard workshop practices and training been followed, the accident would not have occurred.

Unite Legal Services argued that Mr Baker’s employer had been negligent – Mr Baker had not received formal training on how to check for an oil leak, there was a lack of cleaning around the inspection pits and the fan was unguarded, which should not have been the case.

Liability was finally agreed at trial on an 80/20 basis, in favour of Mr Baker, where he accepted £3,400 in compensation.

Since the accident, the area around the inspection pits is now cleaned on a regular basis.

Mr Baker said: “Unfortunately there were no adequate training and health and safety measures taken by my employer and I suffered injuries consequently. The help and assistance that was provided to me by Unite Legal Services was invaluable and much appreciated during a very difficult time.”

Karen Reay, North East Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Secretary of Unite the Union, commented: “Our members need to be protected. Employers should be making sure that all staff are trained and risk assessments are carried out. This injury could and should have been avoided. Fortunately, our member was able to benefit from Unite Legal Services.”