A GMB member who needed surgery to correct a hernia when he was injured at work has received compensation after help from his trade union.

Andrew Kelly, 47, from Chaddesden near Derby, needed the major surgery after moving several objects weighing up to 40kg during an eight-hour shift.

The yard supervisor for recycling firm Sims Group UK was unable to access lifting equipment when instructed to move heavy objects like lorry batteries and fridge motors to various parts of the yard for collection.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Mr Kelly, who has worked for the firm for 31 years originally as a heavy goods driver was moved to the new role just before the accident, was off work for three weeks following it and still suffers discomfort over a year later.

He has been forced to give up his hobby of cycling until the injury is fully resolved.

Following his diagnosis he contacted his trade union the GMB as he was concerned about the losses he would suffer from taking so much time off work. The GMB instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Employer should have risk assessed the task

Mr Kelly said: “I knew that it would take me several weeks to recover from the operation so contacted the union because I was worried about what it would mean for me and my family financially. The GMB were great and organised for Thompsons Solicitors to handle my claim.

“The hernia was painful and it slowed me down a lot. I wasn’t able to lift and found walking difficult. Since the operation I have been able to return to work but I still suffer from some discomfort.”

Thompsons argued the Sims Group should have risk assessed the task and provided either equipment to move the objects or assistance from other employees.

Accident could easily have been avoided

Andy Worth from the GMB said: “Long established employers like these really have no excuse not to think ahead when they ask employees to lift heavy weights with no help. Mr Kelly’s losses and pain lie at their door when a simple risk assessment could easily have avoided the accident.”

Claire White from Thompsons Solicitors Nottingham office added: “Employers handing out tasks to employees need to make sure there are systems in place so jobs can be performed safely.”