Unite member in life-long pain following workplace injury

A Unite member has received compensation after an accident at work caused her to suffer a pelvic organ prolapse, developing pain and urinary problems.

The 48-year-old care support worker was lifting a patient out of bed with a hoist when it snapped, straining her stomach to such an extent that her pelvic organs prolapsed as she tried to hold the patient’s weight.

The injury left her needing to self-catheterise for several months and, although she was initially able to return to work, she needed time off later in the year for an operation to improve bladder function and ease pain. Since the accident, the member has had 10 operations, missing around 18 months of work, and continues to suffer pain when walking or sitting for long periods.

It was discovered that other staff had previously reported the hoist as defective, but it was never replaced.

The member contacted Unite Legal Services to make a compensation claim.

“It wouldn’t have taken much for my employer to replace the hoist,” said the Unite member. “I had no clue that it was defective and was doing my job as usual when the accident occurred. I knew something was wrong as soon as it happened, but I couldn’t have foreseen just how much pain it would cause me years on.

“I’ve been in and out of hospital, and doctors have told me that I will probably need another operation soon. I have no idea how long this will go on for – I’ve had to accept that I could be in pain for the rest of my life.”

Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “This injury left our member in agony, yet there was no reason for it to have occurred. Changing the hoist when it was reported as faulty would have avoided her having to suffer from months, and possible years, of pain.

“As a member of Unite, she had access to free legal support and kept 100 per cent of the compensation secured for her. Hopefully, this case will act as another reminder to employers that they have a duty to maintain equipment to help avoid preventable workplace accidents.”