Train worker’s agonising wait after needle injury28 December 2009
Injured by a dirty needle at work
The 34-year-old from Sunbury on Thames was stuck by a needle in his knee while attempting to fix lights on a train carriage at Paddington Station.
The fitter for First Great Western got down on the floor to access an electrical panel on the carriage and knelt on the needle.
Agonising wait for blood test results
He had to wait three months for the results of blood tests for HIV and Hepatitis.
Fortunately he has been cleared of any blood-borne diseases, but during the long wait he had to put plans to try for another child on hold. He also had to give up his coaching role for a premiership rugby team.
The member has received counselling, but was so affected that he was off work for six months.
Thompsons Solicitors helped with claim for compensation
Following the accident he contacted his union which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.
Thompsons argued that First Great Western should have provided its employees with knee pads, equipment which all staff are now given.
The member said: “Discovering I had been stuck by a needle was extremely distressing. I kept wondering where the needle had come from and what diseases it might be carrying.
“It got to the point where I had an aversion to needles and I had difficulty sleeping. Beyond the psychological impact I also had to give up my coaching position due to the risk of contamination and my wife and I had to put plans to try for another child on hold.”
Employers must provide their employees with a safe working environment
Bob Crow from the RMT said: “Employers must provide their employees with a safe working environment and First Great Western patently failed to do that. The injury he sustained had a substantial effect on his life. By providing the correct protective clothing and ensuring carriages are kept clean this injury could have been avoided.”
Sarah Patten from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Needlestick injuries cause a great deal of physical pain and mental anguish. This client in particular was forced to take six months off work. The agonising wait for the test results had a massive impact on his daily life and on his plans to enlarge his family.”
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