GMB member suffers serious accident at work due to faulty door


A long standing GMB member has received gross damages in excess of £350,000 as a result of support from the GMB Northern in pursuing a personal injury claim against his employers.

Health and Safety Inspection

The member was employed at Weineberger, Bishop Auckland as a kiln attendant at the time of the accident and had been in the position for a period of 5 years.

His accident occurred on the 18th January 2012. When he commenced his shift, he received a handover from another employee who indicated they were having problems with a dryer door. This was catching in the course of it being opened, in order to release it they had been using a pinch bar or the forklift with an extension fork to nudge the door open.

The dryer should have opened automatically. However, unfortunately there were repeated occasions when the door was jamming on the lip of the concrete roof of the dryer.

The member tried to use the extended fork on numerous occasions to release the door that night but he was unable to open it. He therefore went to the upper level of the plinth in order to release the door. The height of the plinth above the door was some 3 metres.

Once on the plinth he fell onto the concrete floor below, consequently sustaining multiple serious injuries.

A claim was made by the GMB’s panel solicitors, Simpson Millar LLP, against the member’s employers that they had been negligent in allowing an unsafe system to operate.

The insurers indemnifying the employers sought to defend the claim by suggesting that the member was partially to blame in that he should not have been on top of the plinth and that he was too near the edge of it.

Simpson Millar LLP refused to accept those allegations and pursued the claim on the basis that the employers were 100% to blame.

The Claimant sustained a uspected fracture to his skull, a further head injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and moderate depression. He also sustained a fracture to his left leg which warranted surgery resulting in significant scarring.

Simpson Millar LLP obtained medical evidence to support the extent of those injuries and the prognosis.

The GMB union panel solicitors also arranged rehabilitation for the member and a round table meeting with the insurers to promote settlement on the best possible terms. At the meeting, Simpson Millar LLP were able to secure over a 100k increase in damages and settlement was achieved for the member which he was very happy with.

The benefit of pursuing the claim through the GMB was that he could rely upon the expert legal advice given to him by Simpson Millar LLP, who have years of experience of handling claims of a similar nature.

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