A GMB member has been awarded compensation from his employer after sustaining a hernia when he had to move a heavy metal bench 100 feet from one side of the warehouse he worked at to the other.

Despite the weight of the bench, no equipment was provided to enable the 49 year old man and his colleague to lift it safely.

Lifting the bench to chest height, the man felt a distinct ‘pop’ in his stomach and found his belly button was protruding oddly. He sought first aid immediately but his employer failed to send him to a doctor to have his condition checked out immediately and he ended up having to take three weeks off to recover.

Two years on hernia injury finally confirmed

After returning to work, the GMB member found that the suspected hernia kept popping out, affecting both his work and social life. Nearly two years after the initial accident, the man sought expert medical advice of his own accord and finally had surgery on what was confirmed to be an umbilical hernia.

Deeply unsettled by the treatment from his employer, the member contacted the GMB who referred him to Thompsons Solicitors who investigated a case for compensation on his behalf. After his case was brought to a positive conclusion, the warehouse worker said: “Without my union’s legal service and the expertise of Thompsons Solicitors I would never have received compensation. If my bosses had thought the task through this injury would never have happened in the first place and if they had then not dismissed my injury and refused to send me for any other medicals I wouldn’t have gone through two years of pain and upset caused by the hernia.”

Easily avoidable injury

Stephen Woolford from Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The accident could have easily been avoided had the employers considered the risks of moving such a large, heavy object. By either fitting wheels or instructing employees to use lifting equipment this injury could easily have been prevented.”

Tim Roache, GMB Regional Secretary commented: “Manual handling injuries are, sadly, still a regular occurrence in the workplace. Unfortunately many employers consistently fail to provide the necessary equipment and training to make sure such easily avoidable injuries do not happen.”