A lorry driver who needed surgery after he suffered two slipped discs during a workplace accident has received a significant sum in compensation.

Les Webb, 49, from Plymouth was off work for seven and a half months following the accident while working for Viridor Waste Management in Plympton in 2006.

The company removes clinical waste from hospitals and other establishments.

Lifting heavy object caused back injury

Les was attempting to load a 720-litre bin of waste from South West Water in Exeter when he felt severe pain in his back.

An MRI scan revealed he had suffered from two slipped discs, a trapped nerve and also a laceration to a muscle in his back.

He needed surgery to put his discs back in place and was bedridden for weeks.

Les was eventually able to return work on light duties and is now back full time.

Following the accident he contacted his union Unite which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for accident compensation.

Employers admitted liability for accident

Viridor Waste Management admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Les said he decided to pursue compensation because he was concerned about his loss of wages. He also felt his employers should have taken more care to avoid the injury.

He said: “My back injury was agony and before I had the surgery I was unable to walk far. Fortunately since I had the operation my back has slowly recovered and I have been able to return to work.

“I decided to pursue compensation because I was concerned about my colleagues. Some of the bins we move are extremely heavy and more needs to be done to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else. Since the accident we have been given lifting training which has helped significantly.”

Laurence Faircloth from Unite added: “Back injuries can be painful and debilitating. Employers must ensure staff are trained in lifting techniques or work out ways to avoid situations like the ones faced by Les.”

Michelle Finlay from Thompsons Solicitors added: “There are strict laws to ensure that employers take action to prevent injuries caused by lifting heavy objects. Employers should have a written policy as part of an overall health and safety strategy which addresses the risks their workers face.”