Man who suffered spinal injury after accident at work is compensated

A Unite member suffered wrist and spinal fractures after being thrown from a street sweeper onto a concrete floor.

The member was adjusting the suction tube at the rear of a sweeper, which involves raising the hopper and standing on the vehicle chassis to lift a heavy wooden beam. While levering the beam, it broke, causing him and the colleague assisting him to be thrown backwards from the top of the chassis.

The member received treatment for his fractures and physiotherapy, and was forced to take a significant period of time off work.

His employer accepted it was primarily responsible, however, it alleged that the member was 25% to blame for the accident. It claimed that although the method of work was inherently dangerous, the fact that the member had assisted in devising the method with his managers, it made him partially at fault. Unite Legal Services pointed out that ultimately the employer is responsible for devising safe working methods and his employer eventually conceded full responsibility for the accident.

Unite Legal Services represented its member and was able to bring the case to a successful conclusion, securing significant compensation on his behalf.

Sarah Carpenter, deputy regional secretary, said: “An accident at work that results in a spinal injury is a horrific experience in itself, but our member should never have been expected to shoulder a portion of blame for an accident that was not their fault.

“By pursuing his claim through Unite Legal Services, our member has received 100% of his compensation for an injury that he should never have suffered, and his employer has rightfully been held solely to account.”