A lorry driver who suffered concussion when he fell six foot from his truck has received compensation from his employer after help from Unite Legal Services.

Unite the Union member from Rowley Regis, employed as a delivery driver for RJ Haulage Ltd was left with short term memory problems, vertigo and headaches following the accident in May 2010.

The 63-year-old was attempting to unload his lorry which had been packed by the firm’s warehouseman when, as he attempted to move fork lift truck slings, his foot slipped on plastic wrappings around the load.

He fell six foot to the ground, landing on his back and hitting his head on the road.

Concussion caused by accident

He suffered concussion and damaged his inner ear leading to vertigo for six weeks. Longer term he has been left with short term memory problems, severe headaches and is now short tempered.

During two months on sick leave his employers warned all their drivers about stepping on plastic wrappings to reach the fork lift slings.

Following the accident he contacted Unite Legal Services for advice which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to act on the members behalf.

The member said: “After the accident I was terrified I had suffered a serious brain injury. I ended up spending time in hospital suffering from vertigo. It was extremely worrying for me and my family, I came off the lorry with a real thump. Fortunately the vertigo has gone but I still suffer from headaches and memory problems which can cause tension for me.

“It wasn’t until after the accident that my employer sent a memo to drivers outlining the correct protocol for organising loads being removed from the lorries. If I had been told how to do this in the first place my accident would never have happened.”

Employers have a duty to protect their workers from accidents like this one

Mick Whitley, Acting NW Regional Secretary at Unite the Union added: “This employer failed to risk assess the obvious hazards involved in delivery drivers accessing loads for removal from their lorries. It took our member’s injury to push RCJ Haulage into thinking properly about its health and safety responsibilities.

“This is a success for Unite Legal Services and all our members should take some comfort from knowing that our legal services are at hand to act for members and their families.”

Robert Ellis from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Our client should never have been put in a position where he was in danger of falling from his lorry. Simple steps by employers would protect their workers from accidents like this one.”