A GMB member who was badly injured in a fall from his work van has received compensation from his former employer.

Colin Cummings, 57, from Wingate in County Durham was working as a delivery driver for Newsquest, based at the Northern Echo newspaper in Darlington, when he fell due to his legs becoming caught in plastic strapping used to hold bundles of newspapers.

It caused him to land heavily on his right knee suffering an injury which led to six months off work. He eventually had to take a desk job at a factory because he was no longer capable of manual work.

Before the accident his employers had been warned that the plastic straps placed around bundles of newspapers were a hazard because they were often loose.

Mr Cummings has been left needing a knee replacement. He can no longer manage stairs and is unable to undertake DIY and gardening. He said he is worried about his future employability as he is no longer fit for a manual job.

Thompsons Solicitors made a claim for compensation

He contacted his trade union, the GMB, for advice. The GMB legal service referred him to specialist lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Newsquest admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Mr Cummings said: “I had complained about the plastic strapping being a problem for a while before my accident. I never expected that it would be me that would end up being injured.

“My knee is extremely painful and although I’m still working, it can be a struggle at times. I know I’ll never be able to take on another manual job when my current job comes to an end soon. I am worried about the future and angry that my concerns about health and safety were ignored.”

Employers ignored basic health and safety regulations

GMB Regional Secretary Tom Brennan added: “The union’s policy on workplace safety has always been that prevention is better than cure. Most accidents are entirely preventable but happen because employers ignore basic health and safety regulations, the kind that the government claims are a burden on business. Where employers fail to address safety issues the union’s legal service will step in to protect our members’ interests. And we expect that by doing so lessons will be learned by employers.

Tracy Clark from Thompsons Solicitors said: “This accident happened because an unsafe system of work was allowed to continue despite the concerns of the workforce. As a result Mr Cummings has been left with long term injuries which affect his ability to work in a manual role. The support he received from his trade union has ensured that he received compensation for the injuries and financial loss caused by his employer’s fault.”