A driver has received £13,000 in compensation after he suffered permanent damage to his eye in a workplace accident.

The 57-year-old from Redcar needed surgery to correct a detached retina and then another operation to remove a cataract after he was hit in the eye while working for Coast and Country Housing Limited.

He was clearing out an empty property and had loaded a stainless steel bath onto the back of his lorry. As he attempted to cover the load with a net, the net caught on a loose bath leg, swung round and hit him in the eye.

No safety goggles provided

The GMB member was wearing prescription plastic glasses but the company failed to provide safety goggles.

The net hit his left eye and he suffered a detached retina which needed surgery. He later developed a cataract and needed a second operation a year later to correct it. He now has to wear a special lens in his eye.

Following the accident he contacted the GMB which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that Coast and Country Housing had provide the wrong type of netting to secure the load and should have provided the correct safety goggles.

The firm did not admit liability but settled the claim out of court.

Safety goggles are a must-have item in a wide range of industries

The GMB member said: “I had asked for glass prescription safety goggles on a number of occasions because in my line of work I feared I ran the risk of serious injury but they were never provided. If I hadn’t been wearing the plastic glasses I could have been blinded. Having gone through two eye operations I know just how scary it is to lose your sight. I was lucky that when I did I knew it was only temporary.”

Tom Brennan, GMB regional secretary, said: “Safety goggles are a must-have item in a wide range of industries. However there are several types of goggles on the market and it is up to the employer to ensure that the type used is suited to the tasks being undertaken.”

Diane Davison from Thompsons Solicitors added: “The employers should have provided safety goggles that protected his eyes from all angels whilst enabling him to see clearly. With the correct equipment the long term sign problems he now has could easily have been avoided.”