A welder who suffered a head injury has received compensation from his former employers after it left him limited in the work he can do.

Peter Hibbert from Whitchurch, Hampshire, has memory problems and is unable to lift heavy objects following the accident at Linde Material Handling in Basingstoke.

Linde Material Handling build forklift trucks and Mr Hibbert was employed as a robot operator for the firm. He was injured whilst working on a machine making the lift mechanism for a fork lift truck when a metal clamp used to move the parts around struck him in the head.

Following the accident Mr Hibbert contacted his trade union, the GMB, which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that the machine was faulty but that had gone unnoticed because there was no inspection programme in place to identify defects.

Knocked unconscious in accident

Mr Hibbert was knocked unconscious by the blow leading to severe headaches and short term memory loss. He also suffered from whiplash-type injuries to his neck and shoulders.

After 18 months off work he was made redundant. Since then he has been able to find work as a welder fabricator and engineer and is limited in the type of roles he can do as he is unable to lift heavy objects.

He still suffers from short term memory loss and finds it difficult to keep up with conversations.

Simple housekeeping and proper training

Thompsons said that Linde Material Handling should have had an inspection system in place to ensure the machinery was in good working order.

Linde disputed Thompsons’ claim but admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Mr Hibbert said: “I’m very angry about what happened to me as it has had a dramatic effect on my life. I’m limited in the type of jobs I can now apply for and socially I find it difficult. My memory problems mean I find it difficult to keep up with the conversation.

“I’ve learnt over the years to adapt to my physical limitations and I’ve fortunately now found work but my accident was totally avoidable.”

Paul Maloney from the GMB said: “Our member has had to learn to come to terms not only with the physical aspect of his injuries and their impact on what work he can get but also with the fact of memory loss. We believe a system of inspection should have picked up that a simple repair was needed and the accident would never have happened”.

Andrew Hutson from Thompsons Solicitors added: “All the evidence shows that simple housekeeping and proper training avoids accidents like this from happening and this case shows just how badly things can go wrong if employers don’t do it.”