Unite member suffers spinal injury after accident at work

A Unite member, who was forced to retire after a spinal condition was accelerated by an accident at work, has been awarded more than £60,000 compensation.

At the time of the accident, the man, who has been a Unite member since the 1980s, was working for a tarmac company in the West Midlands constructing a new supermarket.

As he was sat on a paving machine waiting for a delivery of tarmac a colleague reversed up at speed and struck the paving machine, causing it to lift up into the air and down again, which injured the worker who still had seven years left until his retirement.

As a result of the collision the member suffered a serious injury to his lower back and left leg, accelerating the symptoms of a pre-existing prolapsed disc. The severity of the pain caused by the injury affected his ability to do his job and seven weeks after the accident, after his employer was not able to provide alternative light duty work, he was forced to retire early.

Since his accident, he has suffered from depression and has needed anti-depressants. He has also been treated at a pain management clinic but continues to have significant discomfort in his back and leg, and uses crutches on a daily basis.

He contacted Unite Legal Services who investigated a claim for compensation.

The member said: “Had the driver been paying more attention, this accident would never have happened and I wouldn’t be in constant pain.

“Despite being liable for my injury, my employer has been extremely unsympathetic. Only after Court action was taken did my employer admit that it was liable for the accident.

“I’d been doing this type of work for 14 years, but I know that I will never be able to do the job I love again. To be honest, I feel that my world has been turned upside down since the accident.”

Stef Blasczyk, regional legal officer from Unite the Union, said: “A lack of training coupled with the lorry driver’s thoughtless driving prematurely ended our member’s working life. Despite not being in any way to blame, our member has been forced to retire on the grounds of ill health.

“Thankfully, his trade union membership meant that he had access to legal experts at Unite Legal Services who secured compensation for his injury and loss of future earnings, and made sure that his employer was held to account for what went on that day.”