An HGV driver who suffered a jarring injury to his left shoulder has received £12,500 in damages after being struck by a falling cage at work.

On arriving at a Sports Direct store in Uxbridge, Greater London, 59-year-old Unite the Union member Stuart Valente found that he needed a ramp to manoeuvre cages in and out of the shop’s delivery area. The area was only accessible by a seven-inch step and was blocked by a number of empty cages.

Stuart pulled the empty cages from the elevated delivery area to the ground below. As he did so, one of the cages fell and struck him, jarring his left shoulder.

Stuart phoned his employer to inform them about the accident but was told to continue his shift as normal. Although he completed the delivery, he was in a lot of pain and he visited his GP as soon as he could.

After three months of persistent pain, he was referred for an ultrasound, which confirmed that he had damaged tendons in his shoulder.

As a result of the injury, he needed intermittent periods of time off work for the rest of the year, during which time he had an operation to repair the tendon and ease the pain in his shoulder. He couldn’t drive for several weeks following the operation and had physiotherapy to rebuild the muscle in his arm.

Stuart contacted Unite Legal Services who instructed accident at work specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to make a claim for compensation.

He said: “My employer should have had a system in place to make sure that all of the cages were moved away from the delivery area once they had been emptied not left around blocking the area. This wasn’t the case and I was the one who suffered as a result.

“I owe a lot to Thompsons and my union, but also the hospital staff who made sure that I received the right treatment to regain the feeling in my arm. Without their hard work, I wouldn’t have been able to continue living my life as I did before the accident.”

Peter Kavanagh, London and Eastern regional secretary, said: “The build-up of cages made working at that particular store difficult and dangerous.

“Sports Direct should have had an effective system in place to monitor delivery areas to make sure they were fit for purpose and not let them become a dumping ground. If it had done this, then Stuart’s accident would have been avoided and it would have and stopped him from having time off work, suffering pain for months and needing an operation.”