An aircraft technician who was injured whilst working on a fighter jet has been awarded compensation by his former employer, the Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA) at RAF St Athan in South Wales. DARA is a civilian arm of the Ministry of Defence and was set up to maintain and repair the UK's military aircraft. The claim for damages was brought with the support of Unite the union and Thompsons Solicitors.

At the time of the accident, Luke Morgan, 29, of Aberdare in South Wales, was carrying out maintenance work on the fuel tank of a Tornado ZA547 Aircraft. The task required Mr Morgan to enter the fuel tank head first and then twist his body. As he did so, Mr Morgan suffered a severe and sharp pain in his abdomen and was subsequently diagnosed with a hernia which required surgery.

Commenting, Mr Morgan said: “It was an awkward manoeuvre as the fuel tank itself is a confined space which is difficult to get into. It was always a difficult task but the other technicians and I just got on with it. I eventually paid the price. The injury was very painful and required surgery. I was off work for six weeks and I’m still recovering from it now.”

Andy Richards, Wales Regional Secretary of Unite the union said: “Despite the unusual posture and level of human force required to enter the fuel tank, no training had been provided and no warnings were issued by DARA to protect technicians like Mr Morgan. Unite is determined to ensure that all employers comply with their health and safety duties and responsibilities.”

Clare Nash, Mr Morgan’s representative at Thompsons Solicitors in Cardiff, said: “It’s very easy for employees to simply do the best they can in the absence of proper procedures and guidance. Although the job in this case wasn’t particularly dangerous, Mr Morgan was required to perform a task which probably required the skill of a contortionist.”

Mr Morgan received £6,000 in compensation.