A painter who was off work for three months after suffering whiplash injuries when he struck his head on dangerous scaffolding has received compensation after help from Unite the Union.

The 22-year-old, from Kent was injured whilst working for CBI Ltd on the Isle of Grain, Rochester.

He was walking along a scaffolding walkway after painting a pipe and attempted to duck under a 3ft high metal ‘goal post’, which had been put in place to allow workers to pass under a gas pipe.

He struck his head on the underside of the goal post leaving him dazed. His neck began to swell and he was signed off work with whiplash injuries for two weeks.

He continued to suffer pain in his neck which meant he was unable to move his head easily and as a result couldn’t return to work. He was eventually made redundant, for reasons unrelated to the accident, three months later.

Thompsons Solicitors made personal injury claim

His injured neck meant he couldn’t undertake heavy lifting or drive and found it difficult to sleep. He received intensive physiotherapy and his neck is now healed.

Following the accident he contacted his trade union, Unite the Union, which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that the ‘goal post’ should have been put up in a manner to allow people to pass underneath without risk of injury.

CBI, who was responsible for erecting the scaffolding, admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for £9,250.

The Unite member said: “Initially after banging my head I felt dazed and had slight pain in my neck. I didn’t really think much of it and attempted to return to work. Within 30 minutes my neck had began to swell and that was the first time I thought I might have done some serious damage. The next few weeks were frustrating as my neck was painful, I was unable to work and then I was made redundant. Fortunately my injury seems to have cleared up now and I’ve been able to find another job.”

Accident could have been avoided

Peter Kavanagh, regional secretary at Unite the Union added: “A three foot high obstruction in the middle of a scaffolding walkway is an accident waiting to happen. It was irresponsible for CBI to even consider that its employees could navigate under this metal goal post safely. Alternative arrangements should have been made to ensure that workers weren’t having to pass underneath.”

Michael Hildreth-Bell from Thompsons Solicitors said: “This case is a typical example of an employer failing to carry out a risk assessment and as a result an employee needlessly becoming injured. Had CBI followed health and safety protocol and kept this walkway clear, this accident and subsequent compensation claim could have been avoided.”