Safety first

Two injured technical instructors have won cash awards after the CSP stepped in. Gary Henson reports

Two physiotherapy technical instructors who were injured at work have received substantial compensation payments after the CSP took up their cases.

The largest award, worth £54,000, went to a woman in her early sixties who had to take early retirement after falling at the special needs school in Nottingham where she had worked for 25 years.

The CSP member, who does not want to be named, dislocated an arm after slipping on a wet patch in a corridor at the school in 2007.

As she fell she grabbed a handrail causing her left arm to dislocate.

When it became clear she was unable to return to work, her contract was terminated and she felt she had no option but to retire early.

The woman has limited use of her arm and has been told her symptoms are unlikely to improve despite her having had surgery.

She said: ‘I was fit and active and enjoyed my work but this accident has seen me suffer immense pain during the last four years.

I’ve had to give up my job and I can no longer raise my arm above head height. It is frustrating that this has happened all because someone didn’t put up a wet floor sign or clear up the spillage.’

Thompsons, the CSP’s solicitors, argued that Nottingham City Council should have ensured the school corridor was kept safe.

The council admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Laura Hadfield from Thompsons added: ‘The council should have made sure its health and safety policies were being followed.

If more care had been taken this woman would still be pursuing a career that she loved.’

CSP national officer Jess Belmonte commented: ‘The council’s negligence means the loss of a valuable member of staff with extensive experience.

We hope lessons are learnt from this to avoid anyone else suffering the same plight.’

20-stone patient

In a second case, Marsha Fernihough, 53, received £25,000 in compensation after damaging her shoulder while helping a 20-stone male patient at Alcester Community Hospital, Warwickshire.

The man unexpectedly lunged backwards on to a chair as Mrs Fernihough and a colleague helped him to lean on a pulpit frame.

After landing on her arm as she fell with him, Mrs Fernihough needed 17 months off work and had two operations.

She has not been able to return to her original job and now works in the community.

Thompsons argued that Warwickshire Primary Care Trust should have ensured there were enough staff on hand to move such a heavy patient.

His care plan required two members of staff to be present but Thompsons argued this was insufficient.

The trust admitted liability and made an out of court settlement of £25,000.

Mrs Fernihough said: ‘The last three years have been long and painful but it all could have been avoided if this accident hadn’t been allowed to happen.

‘Fortunately I’m now back at work and surrounded by a great team which takes into account my injury but there are many things I’m no longer able to do and I will have to put up with that the rest of my life.’

Yvonne Peel from Thompsons said: ‘Manual handling risk assessments are an important health and safety procedure which can avoid accidents like this one from happening.

Employers must take care to look at each scenario separately to ensure that any procedures put in place are fit for purpose.’ fl

Gary Henson

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