A man from Solihull who was taken ill after being exposed to toxic fumes at work is to receive £1,200 compensation. The compensation was secured with the support of the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) and personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors.

Tony Green from Solihull was employed as a stock controller by Yuasa of Birmingham. Yuasa are one of the world’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of valve regulated lead-acid batteries.

The incident took place in June 2004 at the company’s Tyseley site. Two of Mr Green’s colleagues were unloading a container in the open air when they came across a package.

As it was taken out of the container and exposed to the rain, the package began to smoke. Mr Green went over to his colleagues to try to assist them to put the package out. A security officer was called and then the head of security but neither was able to put the package out.

Health and Safety Procedures not followed

Mr Green explains: “The package that contained the toxic material should have been taken out before the containers were brought on site but Yuasa failed to check that this had been done. It was a terrible experience. I was aware of a fishy smell. Subsequently I felt nauseated and developed a headache and was breathless. My eyes were sore and so were my throat and mouth. My wife Pauline and I went on our annual holiday the next day and spent the whole time worrying that I’d have a relapse.”

Due to the fact that the package contained chemicals, which were later identified as phosphine, Mr Green and his colleagues began to feel unwell and were therefore taken to Solihull Hospital for a heart check up and blood tests.

Eric McDonald, from the TGWU in Birmingham, comments: “We see far too many cases of our members being poisoned by chemicals at work and as a union we are determined to expose those that do so.”

Sian Thompson from Thompsons Solicitors in Birmingham comments: “Given the toxic material that Mr Green was exposed to, his injuries could have been much more serious. Hopefully this will remind other local employers of their duty of care to employees from a health and safety perspective.”