Thomas Russell, a forklift driver at Morrisons, was injured at work while helping a fellow colleague.
The colleague had asked him for help as he was attempting to use a gas canister to fill up his forklift with liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Thomas went to his assistance when the canister became detached from the forklift spraying his face and eyes with a significant amount of LPG.
Thomas felt immediate pain and also decreased vision affecting both his eyes. He was taken to North Tees Hospital for treatment. After the accident he contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a claim of compensation.
Unite Legal Services’ specialist solicitors fully investigated his claim and also the severity of his injuries. As a result, he secured an award of compensation based on the medical evidence, which unfortunately confirmed that while his vision had improved, he continued to have ongoing symptoms of irritation and redness that would be permanent. Thomas now needs to use lubricant eyedrops twice a day to ease his symptoms.
Thomas said: “As soon as the spray hit my face I felt pain and had a loss of vision. I was really worried about my long-term recovery. My legal advisors listened to my concerns and made sure that the medical expert addressed these concerns in his report.
“The most frustrating thing is that this accident could have been completely avoided if training had been provided to the forklift drivers on how to do this task correctly.”
Karen Reay, Unite’s regional secretary for Yorkshire, North East and Humberside, said: “Unfortunately, Thomas is yet another of our members who sustained a work place accident that could so easily have been avoided if his employer had taken the time to ensure that all their employees were correctly trained in the workplace.”