A Unilever production line employee has been awarded £5,000 in compensation after an electrical fault caused a guard door to swing open and damage his left knee.

He was stacking empty ice cream tubs on a production line at a Gloucestershire factory when he heard a loud bang and felt the guard door he was stood in front of swing sharply into his knee.

The production line operative was left with an impact injury to his left knee which caused reoccurring tendonitis in his leg. He took a total of five weeks leave from work and has had a number of steroid injections during a course of physiotherapy to repair his damaged knee.

Employee had not been warned of the safety hazard

Other members of staff working on the same production line were aware of the fault and knew from experience to stand back from the conveyor belt however the 26-year-old man had not been warned of the hazard by Unilever.

The injured man contacted his union, Unite the Union, for advice on bringing his employer to account. The Unite Legal Service instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate his case.

An investigation into the accident showed that the guard door opened as a result of an electrical fault known to Unilever, who after the accident placed bolts on the guard door to prevent it from being forced open.

Demonstrates a laissez-faire attitude to the safety of workers

Trevor Hall, Regional Officer from Unite the Union, said: “Health and safety in the workplace is not to be taken lightly by employers. For a large multi-national company like Unilever to be so laissez-faire about the safety of its workers is deplorable.

“If our member had been informed of the ‘temperamental’ guard door, this accident could have been avoided, but better still (and more appropriately) Unilever should have dealt with the underlying fault.”