A Hampshire delivery driver who suffered a hernia after moving a heavy pallet at work has secured £12,000 in compensation with the help of Unite Legal Services and Thompsons Solicitors.

Former DHL driver Peter Warwick, 64, from Tadley, was delivering goods to TK Maxx in Waterlooville when he experienced difficulty moving an unusually heavy pallet. When the pallet began rolling towards the open rear door of his delivery vehicle, he managed to stop it but strained himself in the process.

Peter visited his GP when his pain failed to subside and was diagnosed with a protrusion of his groin, known as an inguinal hernia. He needed surgery to remove it.

“I often had to move pallets that were six foot high, so I was used to moving heavy loads,” he said. “The pallet in question was quite small in comparison, so when I struggled to move it I just assumed a bit of grit was jammed in the wheel. I found out after the incident that the pallet was actually a stack of heavy glass sheets, and I was shocked when I was told that it weighed more than two tonnes. How anyone was expected to move this, especially on their own, is beyond me.”

Peter Warwick, 64, from Tadley, who suffered a hernia after moving a heavy delivery

"Peter’s injury could have been easily avoided. Fortunately, his Unite membership gave him access to expert legal guidance free of charge, which ensured DHL was held responsible for its elementary health and safety failings."

Sarah Carpenter, South east regional secretary, Unite the union

The Unite member, who has since resigned for other reasons, turned to Unite Legal Services and accident-at-work specialists Thompsons Solicitors to make a compensation claim.

“Unite Legal Services and my solicitor at Thompsons fought for my rights all the way,” he said. “I was offered a lower settlement amount at one point by my old employer, and I thought it was the best I would get and said I was happy to take it. But my solicitor was certain I deserved more and went above and beyond to ensure I was fairly compensated. I can’t praise them enough.”

Sarah Carpenter, south east regional secretary at Unite the union, added: “Peter’s injury could have been easily avoided. Having two tonnes of weight on a single pallet is dangerous in itself, but if it had been clearly labelled he would have known the risks and could have asked colleagues to share the load.

“Fortunately, his Unite membership gave him access to expert legal guidance free of charge, which ensured DHL was held responsible for its elementary health and safety failings.”