A Unite the union member who ended up with a 15 centimetre scar on his scalp because he wasn’t provided with suitable head protection has received compensation with help from his union.

The 46-year-old from Carlisle needed 11 staples in the top of his head after he struck the supporting angle iron of a metal gantry whilst working for a beer can manufacturer in February 2010.

At the time of the accident he was checking to see if the factory's can coating machine was working correctly while wearing only a box hat, a baseball-style cap, for protection.

No hard hats provided

He hadn’t been able to see the sharp iron bar over the peak of the hat’s rim.

The box hat was provided to be worn by staff as they packed cans to ensure hair was kept from the final product but there was no provision of hard hats in the can painting area.

Since the accident he has been left with a large visible scar on his head, which is still sore.

He contacted Unite for advice and the union instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Claim was settled out of court

Thompsons argued that the sharp edge of the gantry should have been spotted in a risk assessment and either covered or suitable protective hard hats should have been provided for those carrying out inspections.

The beer can manufacturer admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for £5,000.

The member said: “I was fortunate that I didn’t need to take any time off work but it did mean I had to pay someone to help me finish an extension I was building at home as it couldn’t be left half done and the staples meant I was limited in what I could do. The scar is noticeable, it can be sore and I’m conscious of it, you do wonder what people who don’t know me think.”

Paul Finegan, from Unite said: "Good safety practice dictates that when staff are working in an area where sharp objects are at head height that hard hats should be provided. A flimsy baseball-style cap is no protection against a sharp edge and the additional blind spots this type of hat can cause makes it a hazard in itself.”

Lyndsay Milligan from Thompsons Solicitors added: "The edge of the supporting irons in the factory are sharp and clearly dangerous. This was a nasty injury which could have been avoided by the provision of suitable protective head gear”