A lorry driver who suffered a back injury caused by a 35 kilo steel bar has received £8,500 compensation with help from his trade union.

The 48-year-old from Barrow in Furness was injured when he was loading a trailer for his employer, TDG Ltd, on behalf of personal care products manufacturer Kimberly Clark.

A metal beam, used to support and partition the trailer’s roof, collapsed as he was sliding it into position. The beam was on a runner and bolted into place but the bolt came off causing it to fall suddenly.

The Unite member ended up taking the beam’s full weight, jarring his back.

Four months off work after accident

He suffered a soft tissue injury to his back and thumb and had to take more than four months off work.

The trailer was later disclosed as having been identified as faulty at an earlier inspection at TDG’s depot but it was sent out to be loaded regardless.

Following the accident the driver contacted his trade union, Unite, which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons obtained evidence to prove that TDG should have taken the trailer out of commission as soon as faults had been highlighted.

TDG Limited admitted liability and settled the case out of court.

Vehicle was used even after defect was detected

The member said: “It was a huge shock when the beam collapsed on me because I’d never seen that type of fault in a trailer before. The beam hit me first at an awkward angle and I knew then that I wouldn’t be able to hold the weight and that I was going to get hurt.

“Aside from being in agony most of the time whilst off work it was also a huge financial strain. Thankfully my back is now more or less back to normal. And thanks to my union the compensation included all the wages I lost whilst off sick.”

Paul Finegan, Unite Regional Secretary, added: “Incredibly a trailer that had been inspected and identified as faulty was still sent out to be used. Our member needlessly suffered injury and lost time off work due to the flaws in TDG’s vehicle and maintenance inspection system.”

David Burn from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Putting health and safety structures in place isn’t just a tick box procedure. Much of it is common sense. Not sending out a vehicle for use that has an identified safety defect is about as basic as it gets.”