Alan Watts suffered physical and psychological trauma as a result of the incident
UNISON member Alan Watts, 62, was working a night shift at Winslow Court in Bromyard when he was assaulted by a resident, who threw him to the ground. He briefly lost consciousness.
"...it was good to have the backing of UNISON and Thompsons Solicitors to vindicate me."
At the time of the incident there should have been a staff member sleeping in another part of the site, contactable by radio, but the rural location meant reception was poor and Alan was unable to get in touch with his colleague. Alan had to walk to another building to find a colleague to help him.
Alan’s head injury meant he had frequent headaches for six months. He also developed PTSD and anxiety, and the incident exacerbated pre-existing depression.
“The resident had only been at the home a couple of months before the incident, but there were concerns that he wasn’t suitable for the facility,” said Alan.
“Some of my colleagues had complained that they felt unsafe, but management didn’t take this on board and often left us to work alone when we weren’t comfortable doing so.
“Even after my injury, nothing changed. I found out that the resident assaulted other colleagues while I was away from work on sick leave. Health and safety seems to be nothing more than an inconvenience to my employer, but I know the union keeps raising the issue.”
Alan turned to his union, UNISON, and contacted Thompsons Solicitors to make a compensation claim.
“The incident affected me for months,” he said. “I lost a lot of confidence and was in pain. My bosses wouldn’t ever say they were at fault, so it was good to have the backing of UNISON and Thompsons Solicitors to vindicate me.”
UNISON West Midlands regional secretary, Ravi Subramanian, said: “Alan went through an ordeal that no one should have to face in the course of doing their job. Sadly, too many employers treat health and safety like an optional extra.
“The physical or mental health of employees shouldn’t suffer because of negligence in the workplace. Together in trade unions we can take on bad practices and win decent working conditions for all.”
"This case shows the importance of union membership in ensuring that employers don’t get away with negligence."
Amie Jeffcott, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Alan’s traumatic experience could have been avoided if his employer had listened to staff concerns. At no point was Alan’s safety considered, and it seems like it is an ongoing battle to get changes made. This case shows the importance of union membership in ensuring that employers don’t get away with negligence.
“We were proud to have supported Alan and made sure he was properly compensated for what happened to him.”
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