HGV driver assisted by Unite Legal Services after fall from faulty ladder22 March 2013
Unable to work after damaging his back
A delivery driver left in constant pain and unable to work after damaging his back in a frightening fall from a faulty ladder has received compensation with help from Unite Legal Services.
The 63-year-old from Dudley suffered painful jarring injuries to his back and neck when the ladder, which was attached to his lorry, suddenly came away from its fixings as he climbed it. He landed flat on his back on concrete with the ladder on top of him.
He had been told by his bosses at the steel manufacturer four weeks earlier to use the ladder to access the lorry’s flatbed. It had to be pulled out from underneath the HGV’s carriage and then fixed to brackets at the back of the vehicle. One of the brackets came away from the lorry causing the ladder to break away.
The Unite the Union member attempted to work through the pain of his back injury for a year but his condition grew progressively worse and finally doctors told him he was no longer fit to drive HGVs. The accident had exacerbated degenerative changes in his back, causing arthritis.
He has been left with constant pain and struggles with day to day tasks, including lifting.
Instructed Thompsons Solicitors to claim compensation
He contacted Unite Legal Services which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.
His employer admitted liability for the accident settled the claim out of court.
The Unite member said: “I've driven lorries and buses all my working life so it was difficult accepting that I had to give up work. I tried to cope with the pain in my back as best I could so I could keep driving but in the end the doctor said I was unfit for the job.
" I had planned to go on working until I was 65 at least. It's extremely frustrating to have my career ended early because of this needless accident."
Accident could have been avoided
Gerard Coyne, regional secretary at Unite the Union added: "This accident could have been avoided had the employer carried out regular checks of vehicles and work equipment to ensure that safety critical parts were not faulty. It wouldn’t have taken much to implement a system of daily inspections, which would have been significantly more cost effective than losing a loyal member of staff to injury and having to pay him compensation.
“This is a success for Unite Legal Services and all our members should take some comfort from knowing that our legal services are at hand to act for members and their families.”
John Mullen from Thompsons Solicitors added: "Government statistics show that falls from height remain the most common cause of major workplace injuries and deaths. A third of these involve ladders. Employers have a duty to ensure that the equipment they provide to their workers is in good working condition. This employer had told its employees to use the ladders to access the lorries' roofs so it was paramount that they were safe to use."
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