Unite Legal Services has secured £4,500 for a man who suffered a repetitive strain injury (RSI) at work.
Martyn Sargent was working as a trailer driver at a plant in Castle Bromwich, which involved opening and closing a curtain to access items in the trailer more than 30 times a day.
The rails holding the curtain were old and worn, meaning he had to use force to open and close it. The 60-year-old told his employer about the issue on several occasions, but his concerns were ignored.
A year after taking on this role, Martyn started to suffer pain in his right shoulder. When the pain failed to subside he visited his doctor who diagnosed a soft tissue injury, which had also aggravated pre-existing issues in his shoulder.
Martyn had several months off work before returning to another role. He has also needed physiotherapy treatment and, two years later, still takes painkillers.
He contacted Unite Legal Services to make a compensation claim.
“The curtain rails were so old and worn down – they made my job a lot harder than it needed to be,” said Martyn. “I told my bosses about it but my concerns fell on deaf ears. It was only when I had time off work that they realised the severity of my injury.
“My union membership came in very handy – Unite Legal Services brought a swift conclusion to the case. I just wish my employer had listened to my concerns in the first place.”
Tim Parker, West Midlands Unite Regional Officer, said: “Maintenance of work equipment is crucial, and in this case failure do to so resulted in a painful injury for our member, which he has only partially recovered from.
“We ensured that our member’s employer was held accountable for its actions. We hope that this case highlights the importance of health and safety to any other employers who may consider flouting these basic rules.”