14th May 2014
A man has been awarded £4,500 following the settlement of his work compensation claim.
37-year-old Paul Pritchard from Sunderland was working for the Mitie Group at the local Rolls Royce depot when he was instructed to lift some heavy aeroplane parts that were stored in such a way that he had to bend down to lift them up.
In lifting the 24kg parts, Paul strained the right side of his chest wall, which took more than eight months to heal. For four of those months, he was unable to work due to being virtually bed-ridden whilst he recovered.
He made the work compensation claim as he believed that Mitie should have "done more" to make sure the job he was safe, so he got in touch with his union – the GMB – to seek help.
They were able to aid him in making his lifting at work injury claim, prompting the union's Chris Preston to comment that "Paul didn’t want to be injured and he would rather not have lost the wages that he did. A simple risk assessment of the task and small changes would have avoided this altogether."
Suffering a lifting at work injury was the most common way of hurting yourself in 2009/2010, according to figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 37,534 people suffered this type of injury during that period, far in excess of the second-most common injury type, which was slipping or tripping whilst at ground level, which claimed 33,649 injuries.
Warehouses can be dangerous places if not managed properly and lifting at work injuries are not the only type of problems that can occur – vehicles and falls from height are also reasons for people needing to make a work accident claim.
Because of this, the HSE is very active when it comes to trying to prevent warehouse injuries and has a number of recommendations to help reduce the numbers of people suffering from them.
To avoid slips and trips, floors should be kept clean and clear, whilst employers should make sure that their staff are wearing the right footwear for the job.
The right equipment is needed when employees are working at height too and thorough risk assessments should be carried out before any working at height takes place.
Vehicles need to be kept separate from pedestrians when both need to use warehouse space and when loads need to be lifted, employees need to consider the load, working environment and the capacity of the individual, in order to avoid a lifting at work injury like the one suffered by Paul.