A factory worker who was forced to take almost six months off work after a serious fall has received £20,000 in compensation. 

Brent Songhurst, 59, from Bridgend was left with a broken wrist and severe shoulder pain after he slipped on dust created by shot blast while working at medical instruments manufacturer, Biomet UK Ltd in Bridgend.

He was unloading a barrel of acid in the walkway area outside of the blasting room when he lost his footing on debris that had come from the cleaning of blast machinery within the room.

Brent, who works as a laser etcher for the manufacturer, needed surgery to mend his left wrist and was off work for 22 weeks. Fortunately he has now been able to return to his job and is expected to ultimately regain full use of his wrist. 

His injury also brought on a painful impingement syndrome in his left shoulder which may need surgery. Medical experts said his fall accelerated the problem by five years. The condition, sometimes known as swimmer’s shoulder, means he suffers from pain and restricted movement.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

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

Thompsons argued that Biomet should have implemented basic health and safety procedures to ensure blasting debris didn’t escape from the designated area. 

Biomet did not admit liability but settled the claim out of court. They have also changed their working procedures to make sure the area outside the blasting room is kept safe.

Brent said: “I decided to claim compensation because I ended up with 22 weeks off work. I still suffer from pain in my wrist and I have problems with my shoulder five years earlier than I should have done. I know that my accident could easily have been avoided had more care been taken to ensure the floor was kept clean.”

Andy Richards, regional secretary at Unite said: “We are pleased we have been able to support Mr Songhurst in his claim for compensation. Working with Thompsons Solicitors we have been able to highlight an important health and safety issue with Biomet and ensure there are safer working practices for our members.

Eamonn McDonough from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Keeping a workplace safe should be paramount for employers. Good housekeeping is simple and ignoring it carries a real risk of serious injury as Mr Songhurst found to his cost.”