Dawson Holdings PLC are to pay £1800 in compensation to a delivery driver who was injured as he filled his work van with diesel at his employer’s premises. William Smith from Bournemouth in Dorset was filling the tank using a hand held nozzle. As he did so, diesel blew back from the tank of the van and went directly onto his hands.

Mr Smith, aged 54, suffered an episode of irritant contact dermatitis as a result. The fuel pump did not have a protective guard and Mr Smith was not provided with gloves to protect his hands.

Mr Smith explains: “I immediately felt a burning sensation in my hands. It felt like stinging nettles. Later, my symptoms got worse and my hands went red and blistered. The skin started flaking off and I had to go and see my GP. I couldn’t wash up or use detergents. My GP told me that I had dermatitis and gave me some steroid cream which I am still using. “

Andy Frampton, Unite regional secretary, said: “The compensation that Mr Smith received was wholly justified. We are happy to have been able to help our member pursue his claim and obtain compensation for these injuries, in a case which demonstrates the need for employers to take action where their employees are exposed to potential injury.”

Representing the man, Laura Murray from Thompsons Solicitors in Bristol commented: “This case highlights the need for employers to provide their workers with protective clothing. Although the risks involved in this task were assessed, protective gloves were not made readily available to employees, nor were employees aware that they were necessary or available. Since this accident, the employer has made gloves available and has erected signs at the fuel pump to advise all employees to use the gloves.”