A Unite member who needed surgery to correct a hernia when he was injured at work has received compensation after help from his trade union.

The 65-year-old from Stafford, needed the major surgery after helping colleagues to handle a 10 tonne structure as part of his job as a fitter for Alstom Grid UK.

The fitter was working on a huge electrical transformer winding which lifted up on four wedges. He and his colleagues were removing the wedges by hand, taking about two tonnes of weight each. It involved pulling and twisting the wedge with force causing his hernia.

The unite member, who had worked for the firm for 46 years and has now retired, suffered a hernia and needed surgery to fix it.

He had to take 10 weeks off work and was unable to do any housework or gardening until the injury was fully resolved.

Thompsons Solicitors made personal injury claim

Following his diagnosis he contacted his trade union, Unite, as he was concerned about the losses he would suffer from taking so much time off work. Unite instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

He said: “I knew straight away that I had hurt myself badly. Because my job involves a lot of heavy work it meant I couldn’t return to work until I was fully fit. The union suggested I should claim compensation to recover my lost wages and also for the pain I had to endure.”

Thompsons argued that Alstom should have risk assessed the task. Alstom admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for £10,000.

Neil Salter, Regional Industrial Organiser at Unite said: “A large company like Alstom should have made sure that it was abiding by its health and safety obligations. There is no excuse for not undertaking a risk assessment on this dangerous task. We hope the firm has put new safer procedures in place as a result of this accident.”

Donna Simcock from Thompsons Solicitors added: “A simple risk assessment would have shown just how dangerous this task was and would have highlighted the need to put measures in place to avoid this type of injury and this accident could have been avoided.”