Johnathan Wain, a BFAWU member for eight years, was employed as a mixing bay operator at Premier Foods’ Stoke-on-Trent bakery. As part of weekend cleaning duties Johnathan was tasked to clean a cage in the mixing bay.

When a cage is being cleaned a stainless steel pipe moves upwards but on this occasion as Johnathan shut the cage door, the pipe suddenly fell and struck his head.

As a result of the accident, Johnathan suffered from concussion, headaches, dizziness and blurred vision. He had seven weeks off work for medical treatment to recover.

After the accident, Johnathan contacted his union, the BFAWU, who instructed personal injury specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to pursue a claim of compensation on their behalf.

Thompsons’ investigations found that a rubber seal was missing from the pipe, which meant that it had become loose and fell without warning. Following Johnathan’s accident, actions were taken by the bakery to ensure that all the pipes were fitted with the rubber seals needed to stop them falling.

Thompsons opened a claim against Premier Foods for failure to ensure a proper system of inspection and maintenance of the machine.

Johnathan Wain said: “The accident itself was extremely painful but it also had a big impact on my life for weeks. What’s worse is that it could all have been avoided had the bakery properly maintained the machinery I was working on. I can’t thank Thompsons and BFAWU enough for their efforts in holding my employers accountable.”

Deborah Roberts, who represented Johnathan Wain, said: “A failure to carry out basic maintenance by employers too often leads to terrible consequences for their employees.

“This accident kept a hardworking employee out of work for seven weeks and yet it could all have been avoided by simply replacing a rubber seal.”

Ronnie Draper, general secretary at BFAWU, said: “Despite the best efforts of this government to water down health and safety, employers have a legal duty to ensure that machines are properly maintained and here it simply did not happen. This isn’t a question of red tape it’s a question of common sense.”