An airport worker who needed surgery on his wrist after an accident in the workplace has received compensation after help from Unite Legal Services.

The 56-year-old needed two operations on his right wrist following an accident whilst loading luggage onto an aircraft as part of his job at for a contractor on site at the airport.

The ramp agent was moving a luggage belt away from the aircraft when his right arm hit a dolly, a type of trolley used to transport baggage, which had been parked in an unsafe area rather than in a special zone with other equipment safely out of the way.

The impact of the blow to his arm pushed his hand backwards causing a painful displaced fracture which needed surgery to insert pins.

He was in plaster for six weeks before needing a further operation to remove the pins. In total he was off work for almost three months.

Following the accident he contacted his trade union Unite for advice as work equipment was often parked in unsafe places in an attempt to meet the tight turnaround to load and unload aircraft.

Unite Legal Services instructed Thompsons Solicitors to act on the members behalf.

His employer settled the claim out of court for £15,000.

A classic case of health and safety being compromised

The Unite member said: “We are on a tight deadline when we are loading and unloading an aircraft. It can be a pressurised job and if things aren’t done correctly it can be dangerous. For that reason all the equipment must be parked in a ‘red zone’ so we don’t have to worry about this sort of accident happening.

“I hadn’t expected the dolly to be there and it wasn’t until I felt my wrist go that I realised that I’d struck my arm. If the dolly had been parked in the correct place this would never have happened.”

Peter Kavanagh from Unite the Union added: “The airside of airports can be busy and dangerous places where health and safety is paramount. This employer should have provided its employees with regular training and reminders to ensure that equipment was stored safely.

“This is a success for Unite Legal Services and all our members should take some comfort from knowing that our legal services are at hand to act for members and their families.”

Anna Barnett from Thompsons Solicitors said: “This was a classic case of health and safety being compromised in order to meet a tight deadline. Regular checks that equipment was being parked in the correct areas would have avoided an employee being badly injured and needing to take weeks off work to recover.”