Council pays out to gardener who used vibrating tools09 March 2011
Hands have been permanently damaged
Landscape gardener Andrew Bowler, 51, has been forced to work a three day week after developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome while working for Nottinghamshire County Council.
The GMB member used vibrating tools on a daily basis whilst working for the council’s landscape services department for almost 30 years.
The excessive vibration led to tingling in his hands and fingers, numbness and muscle weakness and he was diagnosed with the condition in 2008. He had surgery on his hands in an attempt to relieve the condition but has been told that he will be disabled for life.
He contacted his trade union, the GMB, which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.
Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation
Thompsons argued that the council should have been aware of the dangers of using excessive vibrating machinery and made sure that Mr Bowler’s work was varied or the vibrations from the tools lessened.
The council admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.
Mr Bowler is still working for the council but is now only able to manage a three day week and is in a supervisory role no longer using vibrating tools.
He said: “I’ve got to live with this condition for the rest of my life. I can no longer look after my garden or do DIY which I loved.”
Regional Secretary of the GMB, Andy Worth said: “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a major workplace hazard and can have a devastating impact on employment opportunities and private lives. The risks have been well documented since the 1970s and yet this employer turned a blind eye to the health and safety precautions they should have been taking.”
Ashling King from Thompson Solicitors in Nottingham said: “Nottinghamshire County Council should have had a monitoring system in place for all its employees using vibrating tools to make sure they were not exposed to dangerous levels. Their failure to do so has left our client permanently disabled.”
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