UNISON has won £8,000 in compensation for a Yorkshire maintenance worker after his hand was crushed at work.

David Bleasdale, a UNISON member from Todmorden in West Yorkshire, was working for the Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council as a maintenance worker in a local playground at the time of the accident.

Hand crushed

Mr Bleasdale's hand was crushed as he was loading heavy metal skateboard ramps on to the back of a lorry which had no way of their being secured during loading or transport. One of the ramps fell and crushed Mr Bleasdale’s hand.

Surgery required

Mr Bleasdale had to undergo surgery on his finger as a result of the accident, and metal pins had to be inserted to help him regain his dexterity.

David said: “The incident really took away my confidence. I can no longer grip as well with my hand and that's had an impact on my life as well as meaning I have had to give up my hobby of indoor climbing.”

Injury prevented David from returning to his job

Mr Bleasdale, aged 55, was offered early retirement, which he took, and was out of work for 11 months, but although he has since returned to work elsewhere he remains unable to return to manually handling heavy objects as the accident has permanently affected his lifting and manipulating abilities.

UNISON Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary, John Cafferty, said: “David has undergone a traumatic incident as a result of a negligent employer. He still has pain in his hand and it is devastating that he has been unable to return to the work he used to do, as well as being forced to give up his hobby of climbing. This case is a stark reminder of how important it is for employers to ensure the safety of their staff."

Employer tried to make David drop his case early

UNISON instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim on his behalf.

Lucyanne Thomas from Thompsons said: “Calderdale Council initially refused to accept full responsibility, and tried to blame David for what happened. They eventually accepted that they should have ensured a safe system of work but only after applying pressure in the hope Mr Bleasdale would drop his case.

“Thankfully, together with UNISON, we were able to fight his corner to make sure Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council took responsibility for David’s injury."