A Unite member who suffered injuries to her neck and shoulder following an accident at work has been awarded compensation with the help of Unite Legal Services.
Louise Welford, who was employed as a bus driver by First West Yorkshire Ltd in Leeds, was retrieving newspaper for the bus she was due to drive from an unlit shed at the depot. As she left the shed with the newspapers she fell forwards, landing on her left side. She had not realised at the time that she had caught both her feet in a white nylon plastic tie on the floor which was used to bind the newspapers together.
The accident was reported and recorded in the accident book and she returned to work. She visited her GP who diagnosed soft-tissue injuries to her whole left side, most notably her neck and shoulder.
Mrs Welford took a couple of days off work but continued to suffer pain and limited movement. Unfortunately a course of physiotherapy did not help and her employment was terminated on the grounds of ill health.
Unite Legal Services made a claim for compensation
Mrs Welford instructed Unite Legal Services to pursue a claim on her behalf against her employer. Investigations revealed that there were numerous health and safety failures and it was a common occurrence that the plastic ties were found on the shed floor. A similar accident had in fact occurred a few weeks prior to Mrs Welford’s, involving one of these plastic ties.
The shed also had no lighting or artificial lighting in the surrounding area, therefore it was impossible to see the floor properly.
An independent medical report revealed that the accident had aggravated underlying issues in Mrs Welford’s neck and accelerated her symptoms.
During negotiations Mrs Welford’s employer’s admitted primary liability for the accident and later offered a full and final settlement in the sum of £17,000, which was accepted.
Mrs Welford said: “The outcome of my accident wasn’t just the short-term physical pain and discomfort I suffered, but also the permanent damage that I have been left with.
This is a situation that could very easily have been avoided. I’m very grateful to Unite Legal Services for their support throughout the legal process. I should never have suffered an injury because of my job but I’m glad I had the backing of my trade union to make sure I was compensated for my employer’s lack of consideration for my safety.”
Karen Reay, North East Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary of Unite the Union, said: “An accident at work that results in an injury is a horrible experience. By pursuing her claim through Unite Legal Services, she has received 100% of her compensation for an injury that she should never have suffered, and her employer has rightfully been held solely to account.”