Warehouse worker compensated for serious leg injury

A warehouse worker, who suffered a serious leg injury after he was struck by a forklift truck at work, has received a six-figure compensation with the backing of Unite Legal Services.

At the time of the accident, the 60-year-old Unite member had just started his shift in the warehouse when he was knocked over by a reversing forklift truck, which ran over his right leg.

The area he was standing in was meant to be kept clear for the workers to move around freely but it was obscured by a pile of boxes that had been left in the warehouse.

Two weeks before the accident, a health and safety audit identified that the boxes were a danger to staff but his employer had chosen to ignore the reported hazard.

The member was immediately taken to hospital where it was confirmed that the impact had broken his leg and seriously damaged his knee, which needed surgery. He also began suffering from pain in his left leg, meaning that the member struggles to walk. Five years after the accident he is still reliant on crutches every day.

He was unable to return to work after his operation because of the amount of pain he was in, and 12 months after the accident his employer made him redundant.

He went on to contact Unite Legal to investigate a claim for compensation.

He said: “The warehouse should never have had piles of boxes obstructing the view, they should have been moved weeks before the incident but my employer ignored the health and safety warnings.

“My life has been turned upside down; I can’t walk without using crutches and my working career has been cut short. It’s so frustrating for me as the accident shouldn’t have happened – the warehouse should have been clear and the driver should have taken more care.

“I’m very grateful to Unite Legal Services for its support and expertise during a really difficult time. The compensation means that I’m financially stable and can concentrate my efforts on treatment to help improve my mobility and manage the pain.”

Mick Whitley, North West regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “Health and safety legislations are in place to protect workers and to prevent serious accidents like this from happening.

“Arranging for the boxes to be moved from the warehouse floor would have been a seemingly small job in comparison to the aftermath of this accident.

“Thankfully, our member benefitted from the specialist legal expertise available to him through his trade union membership to make sure that he was fully compensated for his injuries and financial losses.”