Double hernia sufferer compensated after work practices led to injury20 March 2013
Lost his job and is in constant pain
A Unite the Union member who lost his job and is in constant pain after suffering a double hernia through pushing and pulling heavy tools at work has received substantial compensation after help from Unite Legal Services.
Farouk Mohamed, 35, from Yate, Bristol needed three major operations over three years after the repetitive nature of his work at Indesit UK Ltd caused the hernias.
The tool setter of 12 years has been left with continuing nerve pain in his groin which means he finds it painful to walk and cannot lift. Medical experts told him he was unfit to return to his job at Indesit and he has struggled to find suitable work since he left the firm in July 2012.
Mr Mohamed developed the hernias in January 2008 while constantly changing heavy press tools. The rails they were mounted on had became damaged over the years, which meant considerable physical force was needed to push and pull them into position.
He attempted to continue to work in between operations but the pain became so bad he was signed off sick and eventually lost his job at the appliance manufacturer.
Instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation
He contacted his trade union, Unite the Union, for advice and Unite Legal Services instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.
Thompsons argued that Indesit should have maintained the rails containing the press tools to make sure they could be moved easily.
Indesit admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for £62,500.
Mr Mohamed said: “Over my years working as a tool setter at Indesit it became more and more difficult to move the press tools. By the time I developed symptoms of the hernias I was having to use real physical force to get them into place.
“I was determined to work through the pain of my injuries but in the end the doctors said I was no longer fit for the work. All I’ve known is tool setting and now I’m not physically well enough to do manual work I know that my opportunities for work are now limited.”
Agnes Hildich, Unite the Union senior convenor at Indesit added: “A large employer like Indesit should have known better than to allow its machinery to become damaged in this way. Simple and regular maintenance would have made sure the tools could be moved easily and would have avoided expensive legal action as well as our member’s ongoing pain and suffering.
“This is a success for Unite Legal Services and all our members should take some comfort from knowing that our legal services are at hand to act for members and their families.”
Paul Rosser from Thompsons Solicitors added: “The case highlights what can happen if employers fail to put proper maintenance procedures in place for equipment. Our investigations showed that procedures had been drawn up to maintain equipment once a week but the system wasn’t implemented properly and as a result the rails were neglected leading to this member’s painful injury.
“It is not good enough for employers to pay lip service to the paper work involved in health and safety, they must follow through by carrying out the procedures they plan out on paper in practice.”
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