A Unite member has received a substantial sum in compensation after his former employer failed to listen to its employees’ health and safety concerns.

Gerard Healey, 59, from Formby in Merseyside had to take 15 weeks off work after he hurt his left arm while lifting heavy wooden pallets.

Mr Healey has now retired from his job as an assistant finisher with Mayr-Melnhof Packaging Limited based in Bootle where the accident happened in January 2008.

Employers had taken no action after complaints from workers

On the day of the incident Mr Healey was moving 5ft square wooden pallets which had been stacked above head height outside the warehouse.

The pallets had been left out in the rain and as a result were sodden and heavy. Unite members at the printing firm had previously complained about the company’s procedure for storing the pallets outdoors but nothing had been done to resolve the problem.

When Mr Healey attempted to lift the pallet it fell backwards wrenching his left arm and causing a soft tissue injury to his left elbow and straining his left wrist. He was forced to wear a splint and had to undergo a series of injections for pain in his wrist.

Thompsons Solicitors pursued claim for compensation

Following the accident Mr Healey contact his union Unite which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for accident compensation.

Mayr-Melnhof Packaging admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Mr Healey said: “We complained several times about the pallets being stored outdoors because they had become awkward to lift after being exposed to the elements but our concerns were ignored. I hope by claiming compensation that my former employers will now listen to its staff’s future concerns about health and safety.”

Paul Finegan from Unite said: “A simple risk assessment followed by the correct action would have avoided the pain and suffering that Mr Healey has endured.”

Helen Templeton from Thompsons Solicitors added: “It is unacceptable that complaints had been made to management yet nothing was done to ensure the process of storing pallets was as safe as possible.”