A man whose life has been seriously impaired as a result of a serious back injury at work has been paid substantial compensation by Glen Dimplex Cooking of Prescot, Merseyside.

Mr Smith, aged 61, from Prescot, worked as a Facilities Engineer and sustained a serious back injury when he fell down a damp sloping grass verge whilst reading meters at one of the firm’s factory buildings.

Mr Smith is a member of leading trade union Unite and brought his claim for compensation with the support of their personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors. As a result, his former employer agreed to settle for £250,000 just 3 weeks before the trial.

Mr Smith explains: “To access the new meter house I had to walk up some steps and up a slippery grass verge around the back of the meter house. I’d carried out the reading and was walking down the grass verge towards the stairs. It was very unsafe and my feet slipped forwards so I ended up at the bottom of the verge. I injured my back very badly but I still tried to continue working for four months. I was given pain killing injections which allowed me to return to work part time in but I was unable to continue any further.”

“I had an operation on my back in March 2004 and was sadly retired in April 2005. The accident has ruined my life; I now live with considerable pain and I’ve had to give up most of my pre accident activities.”

Unite Regional Secretary Laurence Faircloth comments: “We are very pleased with the compensation secured for our member Mr Smith. This was a very serious accident that could easily have been avoided had the employer carried out his obligations to provide a safe working environment with the support of risk assessments. This accident has impacted not only Mr Smith’s ability to work but also his day to day life. After 32 years service, he deserves every penny he has secured.”

Representing Mr Smith, Matthew Tollitt, from Thompsons Solicitors in Liverpool said: “This was an accident waiting to happen. Mr Smith had to visit the meter on a regular basis but was not provided with a safe means of access. His employer - Glen Dimplex Cooking - not only accepted blame when the claim was made, they also then constructed a proper safe access to the meter. Sadly for Mr Smith this was too late.”

“£250,000 is a small price to pay for a man’s livelihood and quality of life. We’re pleased with the outcome of the case, as is Mr Smith; it proves just how important trade union membership is.”