Poor working conditions causes member injury

A Unite member who suffered an injured wrist when he stepped in a sunken drain cover as he fixed a company vehicle has received compensation.

Peter Day from Swansea was injured when he was working on a broken down delivery lorry as part of his role as a vehicle mechanic at a bakery.

The lorry was parked on the bakery premises. It was 4am and the lighting in the area was faulty, which made it difficult to see.

Peter was working in the space behind the lorry’s cab and when he moved away he put his left foot in the drain, which had sunk by more than an inch. His knee twisted and he fell, landing heavily on his left hand.

He suffered a broken hand and cartilage damage to his wrist, which meant he had to wear a plaster cast for five weeks.

The fall also meant he suffered more pain in his arthritic right knee for eight weeks.

Despite initially attempting to return to work he had to take eight weeks off until he recovered. His hand needed physiotherapy and when he did return he was unable to lift heavy items.

Peter had raised concerns about the drain with his manager several times, but nothing was done to fix the hazard.

Following his accident he contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a claim for compensations on his behalf.

His employer’s insurers admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for £6,500.

Peter said: “We had warned bosses about the problem with the drain several times as we knew it was a safety risk but nothing was done about it. After my accident the drains were raised and the lighting was fixed. It is frustrating that I had to suffer injuries and take time off sick before action was taken.”

Gareth Jones, regional coordinating officer from Unite the Union, said: “This member had raised his very relevant health and safety concerns with management yet they failed to resolve the issue until after an employee became injured. This is simply not good enough. Employers must face up to their health and safety obligations.”