Member receives compensation after accident at work

A Wiltshire man who suffered strain injuries to his neck, back and shoulder at work has secured compensation with the help of Unite Legal Services.

Unite member, Terry, 67, was delivering a motorised chair to a customer’s home at the time of the injury. Working with a colleague, he had to carry the chair, which weighed 45kg, over a stair lift and up a flight of stairs.

Half way up the stairs, the pair realised they couldn’t take the chair any further because it was too large. While taking the chair down, Terry tried holding on the bannister to balance, but his neck, back and right shoulder bore the brunt of the heavy weight, causing a strain injury. 

He had to have two days off work after the incident and asked when he returned if he could have lighter duties. Despite his request, he had to undertake heavy manual labour which caused the pain to get worse and he ended up visiting his GP. He was referred for scans and they showed that he had torn a ligament in his shoulder.

Terry was off work for a further three months and then took the decision to leave his job. He continues to find it difficult lifting his right arm and will have to have operations on his shoulder due to the pain.

He contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a claim for compensation.

Terry said: “Unite Legal Services kept me well informed of what was going on throughout the legal procedure, which was a real plus. They took care of everything for me while I focussed on getting better.’

“My injury meant I had to cancel a planned holiday and has left me out of pocket, as I couldn’t work until my wife’s retirement like I had originally planned. Thankfully though, my employer has been held to account.”

Stuart Davies, South West regional legal officer from Unite the Union, said: “The combination of the weight of the chair and the limited space within which Terry and his colleague were expected to manoeuvre it was quite simply an accident waiting to happen.

“Terry and his colleague should have been informed before the delivery of the nature of the stairwell, so they could have worked out how to complete the job without putting him under intense physical pressure as they abandoned their attempts, which resulted in him suffering an avoidable injury.”