A printers’ assistant who was left unemployed after a workplace accident has received £115,000 in compensation.

Unite the union member Peter Fill, 54, from Gillingham in Kent, is still in severe pain in his dominant right arm four years after the accident at work at Mackays of Chatham.

He has been told he is likely to suffer from limited use of the arm for the rest of his life.

He worked for the Kent firm for 15 years before the accident in January 2006. He was trying to lift a stack of six metal cages when they got caught causing tennis elbow.

Despite his arm swelling up and needing to be strapped Mr Fill attempted to carry on with his work until June that year because he thought his condition would improve. But when the pain became so bad it started to affect his driving, he decided to seek medical attention.

Diagnosed with chronic regional pain syndrome

Until that time he was no longer able to use the arm for lifting and was reliant on his colleagues’ help.

He was diagnosed with chronic regional pain syndrome.

Following the diagnosis he contacted his trade union Unite which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued the firm should have had a system in place to ensure the cages were stacked safely.

Mackays of Chatham admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Mr Fill said: “This accident has left me unable to work. On a bad day I can’t even shave because of the pain. I’m still looking for a job but it is difficult because I am limited in what I am able to do.

“I’m relieved that Unite and Thompsons have been able to help me claim compensation. I hope that Mackays now make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Exposed to unsafe practices at work

John Rowse, Acting Regional Secretary from Unite added: “This member was exposed to unsafe practices at work and as a result is suffering from an injury which seriously limits the type of work he can do in the future. Not forgetting the impact of living with chronic pain and the difficulties caused by having restricted use of his dominant arm.

“We are only too pleased to have helped Mr Fill to gain compensation for his injuries.”

Christalla Christodoulidou from Thompsons Solicitors said: “This case highlights the need for employers to carry out proper risk assessments in the workplace to avoid this type of activity which is likely to lead to serious injury.

“We hope this claim has forced this employer to take a thorough look at its procedures to make sure they are as safe as possible.”