A printer whose fifth metatarsal in his left foot was broken whilst working for packaging firm CPC King’s Lynn Ltd in Norfolk has won compensation of £6,750 with the assistance of Unite the union and Thompsons Solicitors

In September 2004, Mr Michael Fincham, 63, of King’s Lynn, Norfolk was working on a printing machine at the packaging company’s premises in King’s Lynn. He was walking along a three-level gantry alongside the machine. As Mr Fincham stepped down, the gantry moved and he fell, injuring his shoulder but more seriously breaking his left foot.

Mr Fincham was taken to the nearby Queen Elizabeth hospital where it was confirmed that the accident had resulted in a metatarsal break, a painful injury which has received wide publicity because of its impact on high profile football players like Wayne Rooney and David Beckham.

“The lower platform on the gantry wasn’t secure and I lost my footing and fell heavily,” explains Mr Fincham. “I was immediately in a lot of pain and couldn’t walk. I was laid up in bed for the first week, and when eventually I did become more mobile I was on crutches for weeks and needed injections to reduce the swelling in my left leg. Since the accident, my foot has been weakened and I now walk with a permanent limp.”

Health and Safety at Work should be taken very seriously

Tony Burke, Unite assistant general secretary, said: “This shows the value of being in a union and illustrates the fact that Unite provides an excellent legal service to its members when they are victims of accidents.

“Unite takes health and safety very seriously in the printing and packaging industry where we have a large membership. Woe betide any company which takes a cavalier attitude to health and safety. Make no mistake, we will pursue them.”

Commenting, Mr Fincham’s representative at Thompsons Solicitors, Ranjit Sond, said: “Liability was denied all along by CPC King’s Lyn Ltd who appeared to take a very relaxed approach to Mr Fincham’s claim. It was necessary for us to issue proceedings and it was only when the defendant instructed solicitors that my client’s claim was taken seriously. An offer to settle was eventually made. This illustrates the importance of pursuing claims and issuing proceedings, especially against defendants who appear to take little interest.”

This news story was also published by Lynn News.