A factory worker in Sheffield has received a sum of £6,500 in compensation after his foot was broken when he was provided with incorrect equipment for moving alloy bars. Michael Kirby, a machine operator from Southey, sustained two fractured metatarsals in his left foot and was rendered unable to work for seven weeks following his accident at Ross and Catherall in Killamarsh.
47-year-old Kirby had been trained to transport 5ft long alloy bars from the floor to a machine, by method of picking them up with a scissor clamp and swinging them in. However, one of the bars fell from the scissor clamp and landed on his foot during a shift. Despite the fact that he was wearing steel -capped boots that contained a built-in metatarsal guard, the impact of the bar broke his foot.
After the accident occurred, staff at the alloy manufacturing factory were instructed to move the bars closer to the floor before raising them to the level of the machine instead of swinging them around. Following this, an alternative type of clamp with curved interlocking forks was brought in to move the alloy bars. Ross and Catherall accepted liability for the accident and a claim was settled out of court after contact was made by solicitors instructed by the GMB union.
About the accident Mr Kirby said –
“After the accident I was virtually housebound for several weeks. I found it difficult to get around on crutches and could only get upstairs by using a stairlift we fortunately already had. I was frustrated at being injured when I was only doing my job in the way I had been told to.It was obviously a dangerous system because after my accident steps were taken to prevent swinging the bars and we were provided with a different type of clamp to move the bars.”
The GMB union’s Andy Worth said –
“Our member was injured because he had been trained to move these alloy bars in an unsafe way. There was no risk assessment of the job which would have highlighted the danger of swinging the bars and the need for a more appropriate clamp to be used to prevent workers being injured.”
Thompsons Solicitors’, Teresa Marriott said –
“This employer failed to take into consideration the health and safety ramifications of the job. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide suitable work equipment and to ensure safe systems of work are used. In this case a quick assessment would have highlighted the potential dangers of the method and equipment used and would have been cheaper than paying compensation to an injured worker.”