firefighter has warned his colleagues to make sure they log all workplace accidents no matter how minor after becoming seriously injured while attending a routine call.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) member Donavon Gooden, 43, from Sheffield was forced to give up his job after he slipped a disc while attending a car accident in February 2005.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was called out to the accident after a car had slipped on the icy roads and hit a wall.

Injured back at work

Donavon and his colleagues were attempting to move the car back onto the road when he felt a twinge in his back.

He said at the time he didn’t think anything of it and just continued with his work. He didn’t write the incident down in the accident book. It wasn’t until a few days later when he began to feel pain down the back of his left leg and in his back that he went to his doctor and discovered he had slipped a disc.

The firefighter, who had 20-years service, has since had to undergo surgery and has been told he will never work as a firefighter again.

While he is still able to walk short distances he has also had to give up playing sports including golf, tennis and basketball.

He said: “This accident has had a dramatic impact on my life. I had been a firefighter for 20 years and had moved cars back onto the road on many occasions. I have had to give up my work and my hobbies.

“I’d warn any firefighter who has a workplace accident, no matter how minor it seems, to log it straight away. I didn’t think I needed to write down what happened to me and it later caused problems for my legal team.”

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following his diagnosis Donavon contacted his union which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons were able to settle the claim out of court for £100,000 after South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service admitted liability.

Ian Murray, FBU regional secretary said: “We are only too happy to have supported this member in his fight for compensation. Accidents like this can be avoided and mechanical assistance should have been sought and provided to help move the car. Instead a dedicated firefighter has now been lost to the service through injury.”

Simon Wood from Thompsons Solicitors added: “While it is important for firefighters to work fast in pressurised situations the health and safety of firefighters should not be put at risk simply to get a job done more quickly.”