A beer delivery man from South Shields has received £3500 compensation from his employer after his finger was crushed and left deformed in an easily preventable work accident.

Paul Anderson, 42, sustained the injury in May 2008 while attempting to unload a delivery of beer kegs at a pub in Newcastle for his employer, Tradeteam Ltd.

His delivery wagon had been overloaded with stock and there was not enough space between the kegs to allow access to remove them from the wagon safely.

The kegs were stored on the wagon using locator boards, however some of these were incorrect as they were not suitable for use on delivery wagons.

This meant he had to struggle to remove the kegs from the locator boards. As Mr Anderson pulled on one keg that refused to budge, it popped into the air without warning and threw him off balance. The keg then landed on his finger, crushing it under its 50 kilogram weight.

Injury resulted in eight weeks off work

The crush injury forced Mr Anderson to take eight weeks off work on reduced pay and rely on his family for personal and domestic care.

His finger is now permanently deformed and in cold weather and in the evenings after work he is often left with a sharp stinging pain. The general discomfort has also forced him to restrict his active outdoor lifestyle.

“Prior to the accident I used to do a lot of shooting and fishing,” he says, “but I just don’t have the same grip after the accident. The loss of grip and discomfort means I can’t cast a line or feel confident using a gun.”

Backed by his union, the GMB, Mr Anderson took a claim against his employer through personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors.

Thompsons argued that Tradeteam Ltd had failed in its duty to ensure that the warehouse operatives who loaded the wagon did so correctly, including making sure there was sufficient working space and that the correct locator boards were in place.

The company also failed to allocate sufficient time for staff to perform their morning checks before leaving the depot in the mornings.

This accident should never have happened

David Burn from Thompsons Solicitors said: “We’re pleased to have secured Paul the compensation he deserves, but the fact is this accident should never have happened. If Tradeteam had ensured its wagons were loaded with safe levels of stock as well as suitable locator boards then Paul would still have the full use of his finger today.”

GMB Northern Regional Organiser Val Scott added: “This should be a warning to employers who have a duty of care to their workforce. Without proper GMB trade union representation, hard workers like Mr. Anderson would be left to fend for themselves. I hope this settlement gives Mr. Anderson some comfort to deal with a trauma that should never have happened”.

Paul Anderson continues to work as a delivery driver for Tradeteam Ltd.