What Equipment Should You Be Able To Rely On At Work?


Stephen John Kinney, is a driver for Royal Mail, but was injured whilst working when the equipment he was using to unload his van broke, causing a painful back injury.

Employers should always supply safe, reliable equipment

Sturdy Equipment?

Stephen was at the Jubilee Mail Centre in Hounslow, working on the dock leveller, a platform which bridges the gap between the truck and a warehouse. He was moving mail using the platform when suddenly it collapsed, causing his back injury.

A platform leveller functions similarly to a lift, allowing items to get from a truck, to the often raised platform of the warehouse/sorting office floor. This platform needs to hold a lot of weight, and should have been one of the most reliable pieces of equipment that Stephen handled on a day to day basis.

Putting Things Right

Stephen had to pay for prescriptions and over the counter medication for treatments relating to his injury, as well has having to take time off work, affecting his earnings. He came to Simpson Millar LLP through his trade union, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) in order to make a claim to put things right and reclaim these costs, since he believed his employer to be responsible.

We arranged an appointment with a medical expert. Stephen had missed time off work due to his injury, even some years after the actual incident, and so he also needed to be referred to an occupational therapist as the back pain continued.

At first, Royal Mail denied any responsibility for his injuries, stating that they assessed the dock leveller, and had decided that there was nothing wrong so it wouldn't be taken out of service. We challenged this, showing that in his witness statement Stephen was a very experienced driver, having first started using a truck and dock levellers 2 decades ago. We went on to secure a settlement of £5,700 for Stephen.

Gary Tierney, the partner who handled Stephen's case comments, "This case goes to show that employers have a legal duty of care to their employees to provide suitable, and safe equipment."

At the conclusion of his case, Stephen commented that Simpson Millar LLP had provided a "Very good service" adding, "Gary fought for a suitable deal that was appropriate." When asked what others should take home from his story, Stephen said that it shows, "You do have someone on your side to help you".

In light of the fact that some of his colleagues didn't want to provide evidence in a claim against their employers, this is a particularly moving point.

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