A GMB member who was forced to continue lifting heavy objects after he damaged his back has received £13,500 in compensation.

Alan Titley, 62, from Atherstone in Warwickshire, is permanently disabled as a result of his work for G4S Cash Services UK in Coventry.

Mr Titley, who worked for the firm from 2002, first hurt his back in June 2004 while lifting bags of coins weighing up to seven kilo in the firm’s cash service centre.

The company sorts change collected by banks and it was Mr Titley’s job to move the heavy sacks of coins from a crate. He lifted scores of bags every day causing back strain.

Off work for six weeks after accident

As a result of the first accident he was off work for six weeks. When he returned he was put on a different job. Mr Titley said it soon became apparent that he was still lifting heavy objects and asked his management to move him to a job where he did not need to lift.

Mr Titley said he was told to continue his work or leave the company. In February 2005 he suffered a slipped disc caused by the repetitive nature of his job. He never recovered from the injury and he was forced to leave the firm.

Mr Titley is now semi-retired and is on permanent pain killers. He said he was relieved the claim had finally been settled.

He said: “I had asked them to move me to a job where I could avoid further injury, but was basically told to get on with it. That decision means I will suffer from back pain for the rest of my life.”

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following the injuries he sustained Mr Titley contacted his union the GMB which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

G4S Cash Services UK did not admit liability for the first injury but accepted 80% responsibility for the second and settled both claims out of court.

Joe Morgan, GMB Birmingham and West Midlands Regional Secretary said: “This case shows that proper risk assessments are vital and should not be completed just to tick the box. Consideration should be given to the task and the risks involved for the worker. Experts should be hired to assess the safety of a job where appropriate.” 

Martyn Gwyther from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Although the weight of the individual bags was not necessarily excessive, the frequency of the lifts meant that further consideration ought to have been given to the process and to the risk of injury."