A Premier Foods employee, who was injured in a fall while cleaning a bread oven, has secured £4,600 compensation with the help of Thompsons Solicitors and his union, the BFAWU.
Paul Strange, a technical services operator, was asked to clean a large bread oven at Premier Foods’ Avonmouth bakery. However, there was not a ladder or other safe means of access down onto the oven floor. In order to gain access, Paul had to climb over the oven wall and use a crankshaft fitted to the wall for support.
In doing so, Paul slipped from the crankshaft and fell heavily onto the floor with his left shoulder taking the brunt of the fall. As a result, he suffered ligament damage to his shoulder and a soft tissue injury to his left wrist. While Paul made a full recovery, his injuries meant that he was absent from work for two months.
Following the accident, Paul contacted his union, the BFAWU, who instructed personal injury specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate a claim of compensation on their member’s behalf.
Thompsons opened a case against the factory for a failure to provide and maintain a safe system of work. Premier Foods admitted liability and Thompsons were able to negotiate the sum of compensation for Paul.
Paul Strange said: “The fall was very painful and it took months for me to get full movement back in my wrist. This could have been avoided if the bakery had just given me the right equipment to get into the oven in the first place.”
Ronnie Draper, general secretary at BFAWU, said: “There can be no complacency when it comes to an individual working at height, and it is vital that employers provide the correct equipment to ensure the safety of their staff. It’s irresponsible of Premier Foods to let a member of their staff carry out this task knowing that there wasn’t the right facilities in place.
“As a result of their negligence, our member suffered a personal injury that impacted upon his work and personal life.”
Ian Cross at Thompsons, who represented Paul Strange, said: “We see all too often employers who underestimate the importance of carrying out adequate risk assessments and providing the right equipment for their employees.
“This accident would not have happened if Premier Foods had provisions in place for the oven to be cleaned in a safe and systematic way. Instead, they let their employee stand on a crankshaft, which is by no means an adequate replacement of a ladder to carry out his duties.”
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