Leading trade union GMB has secured £10,000 for a mechanical fitter and union branch secretary from Cumbria who suffered a slipped disc whilst attempting to lift a half tonne stainless steel end cover.

The compensation was secured with help from leading trade union law firm Thompsons Solicitors.

Gerard Mayne, aged 55, is from Maryport in Cumbria. He is still employed by Eastman Chemicals of Workington. On the day of the accident, Mr Mayne was manually moving a half tonne stainless steel end cover hanging from lifting gear away from a walkway along the side of a machine when he injured his back.

No running beams or electric lift to make job easier

Mr Mayne explains: “I was working with a colleague to remove a machine as it had broken down. It was 20 feet long with a huge stainless steel shaft running through. We pulled it backwards away from its position; we couldn’t leave it in the gangway as this was a main walkway. It was so heavy and there were no purpose built running beams or electric lift which would have make the job easier and less hazardous. The next morning I felt twinges in my lower back and by the Sunday, I couldn’t get out of bed at all, it was so painful.”

“I was so preoccupied that I never put this accident in the Accident Book even though I am a Shop Steward for GMB. I was extremely concerned about the need for an operation and whether or not I would ever be able to get back to work. I’m so grateful for the help and support GMB and Thompsons have given me. It was a difficult case and they pursued it aggressively.”

Risk Assessment should have been carried out

Tom Brennan from the GMB, said: “Gerard Mayne’s case proves that even union men can get it wrong. We would urge all employees to join their trade union so they can get the support they require at their time of need.”

Representing Gerard Mayne, Hazel Webb from Thompsons Solicitors in Newcastle, added: “If Eastman Chemicals had carried out a risk assessment and provided permanent lifting gear , Mr Mayne’s injuries could have been avoided. To begin with the Defendants denied liability. We then issued court proceedings and put forward a compromise offer which they accepted.”

This news story was also published by Times & Star.