A toolsetter for a car parts manufacturer who suffered a painful back injury after an accident at work has received £10,000 in compensation, with the help of his trade union.

The 57-year-old from Walsall suffered a slipped disc as he was fitting a four foot long beam to reinforce a car bumper for Wagon Industries in May 2008.

The beam became jammed and as the Unite member pulled it he suddenly experienced pain in his back.

Staff working on the line had complained that when fitting the part it would often become jammed but nothing had been done to rectify the problem.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

He was off work for four weeks before being able to return on light duties. Just a few months later the business went into liquidation and he was laid off. He hasn’t been able to find work since.

Following the accident he contacted his trade union, Unite, for advice and union lawyers Thompsons Solicitors were instructed to pursue a claim for compensation.

He said: "My colleagues and I had complained in the past about the part jamming but were told just to continue with the job. As I tried to pull it out I felt immense pain in my back.

"I was relieved when I was able to return to work on light duties, but soon after the business folded. I haven’t worked since. All I've known is working in engineering. Now I can't lift that's no longer an option."

Risk assessment should have been carried out

Steve Peacock from Unite said: "The repetitive nature of the job and the risk of it jamming should have been a clear indicator to bosses that the process needed to be risk assessed and the system of work changed. The economic climate is tough for everyone but it is particularly difficult for those in manufacturing to find work. This member is now at a greater disadvantage with his injuries."

Donna Simcock from Thompsons Solicitors said: "This was a manual handling task which clearly had dangerous flaws which the employer chose to ignore. It would have been considerably cheaper to fix the problem than to pay compensation. And now this member is paying the price for his employer's neglect."