Inadequate training forces prison officer into medical retirement15 January 2015
A prison worker has won a claim against his former workplace after suffering a life-changing injury
A former prison officer has been awarded £185,000 in compensation after he suffered a permanent shoulder injury when taking part in mandatory control and restraint training at work.
Robert Warren, a member of the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) for 30 years, was working at HMP Wealstun in West Yorkshire at the time of the incident.
The control and restraint training, which was led by trainers, asked the prison officers to take part in a role play exercise.
Robert was playing the role of a violent prisoner and was held against a wall by three of his colleagues. He should have been brought down from the restrained position, facing forwards towards the floor in a controlled manner, but a colleague swiped Robert’s legs, which caused him to fall and two officers to fall on top of him.
As a result, Robert suffered nerve damage to his left shoulder and despite having medical treatment and physiotherapy, he was left with permanent pain and numbness in his left shoulder and upper arm.
The injury to his shoulder meant that he could no longer do his job properly and he was forced to retire from work after 30 years of employment as a prison officer.
After his accident, the POA instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation on behalf of its member.
Robert said: “Training was something we had to complete and it was usually a straightforward affair, but on this occasion my colleague got overexcited and swiped me. My legs just collapsed beneath me and I remember falling, with my shoulder taking the brunt of it and then people landing on top of me.
“I wasn’t physically able to do my job anymore and I was obviously very upset to have to retire after 30 years. I have permanent pain in my shoulder and occasionally I get sharp, stabbing pains too, which affects what I’m able to do day-to-day.”
Glyn Travis, of the POA, said: “Robert’s colleague went against the trainer’s instruction and caused a life-changing injury for our member.
“Without the legal representation offered by the POA and Thompsons Solicitors, Robert would not have been compensated for this devastating injury.”
Amanda Dixon, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Employers have a duty of care for staff and for any training delivered as part of the job. The training on the day Robert was permanently injured was not delivered properly or in a controlled way. The prison staff should have been focussed on the training and getting the techniques right, not seeing it as a session to mess around.”
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