A Unite the Union member who suffered an injured wrist when he stepped in a sunken drain cover as he fixed a company vehicle in the early hours of the morning has received compensation with help from Unite Legal Services.

Peter Day from Swansea was injured when he was working on a broken down delivery lorry as part of his role as a vehicle mechanic for Allied Bakeries.

The lorry was parked on the bakery premises. It was 4am and the lighting in the area was faulty making it difficult to see.

Peter was working in the space behind the lorry’s cab and when he moved away he put his left foot in the drain, which had sunk by more than an inch. His knee twisted and he fell, landing heavily on his left hand.

Suffered a broken hand and cartilage damage to his wrist

He suffered a broken hand and cartilage damage to his wrist which meant he had to wear a plaster cast for five weeks.

The fall also meant he suffered more pain in his arthritic right knee for eight weeks.

Despite initially attempting to return to work he had to take eight weeks off until he recovered. His hand needed physiotherapy and when he did return he was unable to lift heavy items.

Peter, who has now retired after working 19 years at Allied Bakeries, had raised concerns about the drain with his manager several times, but nothing was done to fix the hazard.

Instructed Thompsons Solicitors

Following his accident he contacted his trade union, Unite the Union. Unite Legal Services instructed Thompsons Solicitors to act on the members behalf.

Allied Bakeries admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for £6,500.

Peter said: “We had warned bosses about the problem with the drain several times as we knew it was a safety risk but nothing was done about it. After my accident the drains were raised and the lighting was fixed. It is frustrating that I had to suffer injuries and take time off sick before action was taken.”

Gareth Jones, Regional Coordinating Officer from Unite the Union added: “This member had raised his very relevant health and safety concerns with management yet they failed to resolve the issue until after an employee became injured. This is simply not good enough. Employers must face up to their health and safety obligations.

“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.”

Kirsty Lambourne from Thompsons Solicitors said: “It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure their staff are safe at work. It’s not about ‘red tape’, as the government would have us believe. A simple maintenance programme would have avoided the pain and suffering caused to this employee and the expense of fighting a legal case.”