A bakery worker has received £17,500 in accident compensation after he fell from an unsafe ladder at work.

The 28-year-old from Newcastle was unable to do heavy manual work for two years as a result of the accident in April 2006 and is still unemployed.

He was using the ladder and a broom to clean sensors on a piece of machinery at British Bakeries’ Newcastle factory when it slipped and he fell to the floor.

The firm makes Hovis bread products.

Serious back injury from accident at work

He suffered a serious back injury which needed prolonged physiotherapy. He was in severe pain and discomfort for two years and he is unable to do any heavy lifting.

He was made redundant when the bakery was closed down. He has found it impossible to find another job at the same pay level because he was unable to do any heavy lifting.

Following the accident he contacted his union, the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors.

Thompsons argued that bakery was using an unsafe system of work by employees having to climb the ladder with a broom and then having to lean over a conveyor belt to clean the sensors.

Thompsons Solicitors recovered compensation

British Bakeries’ owner Premier Foods admitted liability and Thompsons was able to secure a settlement.

The member said: “It is a great relief to have this compensation. I was unable to work in my usual job for two years because I was in so much pain. Now I am able to return to work I have had to apply for less skilled jobs where no heavy lifting was needed. As a result I’ve found it difficult to get back into employment.”

Alan Milne from the BFAWU said: “Falls from heights are the number one cause of workplace deaths and this member was lucky to escape with the injuries he did. With a proper assessment of the risks, understanding of the limitations of ladders and regular maintenance, these accidents could be avoided.”

Jane Gulliford from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Simple and cheap measures could have avoided this accident, like making sure the appropriate ladder for the job was available. It is the employers’ responsibility to ensure ladders are safely used.”