Oil Tank Supplies Limited has been forced to pay £12,000 in compensation after a failure to follow workplace safety standards resulted in an employee suffering a painful wrist injury.

Terry Behan, 53, from Gloucester, and a colleague were tasked with replacing old pipework on an oil tank. But after removing the old pipework they realised they had been given the wrong metal rings to connect the new pieces of pipe. This meant they couldn’t complete the job and had to reconnect the old pipework.

As Terry picked up the end of the pipe, one of the metal rings twisted and fell, causing him to drop the pipe, which was too heavy for even two people to handle.

The Unite the Union member suffered a traumatic twisting injury to his left wrist, which exacerbated pre-existing problems with the ligaments and tendons in his joint.

His employers breached workplace safety standards by sending him and his colleague out to work on pipework that was too heavy for just two people. Oil Tank Supplies Limited failed to carry out a risk assessment of the site, and didn’t take into account that the two factory operatives had to carry out the work in the rain, which meant that there was a greater risk of injury.

The accident was so serious that Terry needed surgery and had to take six weeks off work.

He contacted Unite Legal Services who instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim on his behalf.

Terry said: “My employers failed to meet basic health and safety regulations that exist to protect workers like myself. The team sent to fix a pipe eight metres long, which was extremely heavy, was not sufficient. We were expected to work in treacherous weather conditions and didn't have the right equipment to fix the pipe in the first place!”

Laurence Faircloth, from Unite the Union, said: “Workplace safety regulations are put in place to protect individuals from harm. Unfortunately accidents do happen, however, Terry and his colleague should not have been sent to complete work that quite obviously required more than two people.

“When employers don’t follow rules and implement risk assessments we have cases like this, and it is only right that negligent employers are brought to the book. Thanks to our work with Thompsons Solicitors we have been able to bring this case to a favourable resolution.”