Unsuitable work equipment causes wrist injury

A Unite member who fractured his wrist in an accident at work has been awarded compensation after his employer failed to provide him with correct personal protective equipment (PPE).

David Morrell, from Neath, south Wales, had worked for a global manufacturing company as a maintenance fitter for 34 years. He had been instructed to repair a hydraulic press, and was using a jack to open it, when his hand slipped due to the amount of oil on the equipment.

David fell, landing hard onto his outstretched arm, damaging his right wrist and thumb. He was wearing a pair of gloves supplied by his employers, which were unsafe for use with oily materials because they did not have any grip.

An x-ray revealed he had a fractured scaphoid, and David’s wrist was in plaster for six weeks. Following that, he had to have a further three months of physiotherapy to help repair the damage done to his wrist.

David was unable to work for a month before returning on light duties. As a result of his accident, his employer issued new PPE gloves with grip to its maintenance staff.

David, who had been a Unite the Union member for 36 years at the time of his accident, contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a claim for compensation.

He said: “The fact is, my employers failed to review the poor equipment they gave us until after my accident, which is frustrating - it took months before I could use my wrist again.

“If I had been given the right gloves in the first place it would not have happened. Simple things like driving, gardening and doing exercise were out of the question for over three months because of the risk of falling and doing more damage.

“Luckily my wrist is almost fully recovered with only the occasional ache after periods of heavy work.”

Carl Lucas, regional officer from Unite the Union, said: “Employers have a responsibility to equip their staff with the right protective equipment to prevent accidents and limit the risks of injury. It is completely unacceptable for employers to wait for an accident to happen before they review safety measures.

“I’m glad that we have been able to resolve this case for our member and that the correct level of protection equipment have now been introduced by his employers.”