A Unite member who was left disabled after a workplace accident has received £125,000 in compensation.

Thomas Mirehouse, 63, from Maryport in Cumbria has been left with a significant disability in his left shoulder after he tripped over a fire hydrant cover whilst working for United Utilities.

The specialist high voltage electrical fitter was collecting equipment from the Porter Chadburn substation in Distington when the accident happened.

A new link box had been poorly installed in the pavement and a fire hydrant cover had been left sticking out above the surface of the pavement.

Thomas was returning from his work van with some aluminium rollers when his foot struck the fire hydrant and he fell down a banking, dislocated his shoulder and ended up with a massive tear to the rotator cuff which needed surgery.

He can no longer lift his arm above shoulder height and cannot lift. His injuries were so bad he has been unable to return to work since the accident four years ago and was forced to take voluntary severance.

Pursue a claim for compensation

Following the accident he contacted his union Unite, which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons produced evidence that Thomas was destined to become a specialist limited authorised high voltage fitter. But for the accident his earnings would have increased substantially.

The company responsible for the poor tarmacing, Carillion, admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Thomas said: “being forced to give up my job when I had gone so far in my career has been unbelievably frustrating. I loved what I did and I had been undertaking training for a promotion for a year before the accident.

“Now I’ve been forced to take early retirement and I can’t enjoy the things I always imagined I would do during when retired because of my injuries. I can no longer play golf and have to get someone in to do any major work in the garden.”

Paul Finegan Regional Secretary from Unite said: “Mr Mirehouse has been left disabled and forced to take early retirement as a result of basic failures by Carillion Infrastructure. Our members are too often injured not by totally avoidable things like this. Fortunately our high quality free legal services are there for them.”

Hazel Webb from Thompsons Solicitors added: “A simple failure to tarmac around a fire hydrant cover resulted in Mr Mirehouse being injured and forced to give up his employment. Better health and safety would have prevented a man's career being cut short.”