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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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£10,000 payout for back injury at work

A MARYPORT man has been awarded £10,000 from a Workington factory after injuring his back while at work.

andy eastman
Compensation: Eastman Chemicals in Workington paid out £10,000

Gerard Mayne, of Lawson Street, slipped a disc in his back when attempting to lift a half-tonne stainless steel end cover while working as a mechanical fitter at Eastman Chemicals.

The 55-year-old, who is the GMB union branch secretary, won the compensation with help from trade union law firm Thompsons Solicitors.

Hazel Webb, who was representing Mr Mayne for Thompsons solicitors, said at first Eastman Chemicals denied liability, but after the firm issued court proceedings and put forward a compromise offer, Eastman Chemicals accepted.

Mr Mayne, who is still employed at the Siddick factory, was manually moving the end cover hanging from lifting gear away from a walkway along the side of a machine when he injured his back. He said: “I was working with a colleague to remove a machine as it had broken down. It was 20 feet long with a huge stainless steel shaft running through.

“We pulled it backwards away from its position – we couldn’t leave it in the gangway as this was a main walkway. It was so heavy and there were no purpose-built running beams or electric lift which would have make the job easier and less hazardous. The next morning I felt twinges in my lower back and by the Sunday, I couldn’t get out of bed at all, it was so painful.”

He added that he was so preoccupied that he did not log it in the accident book, even though he was a shop steward for GMB. “I was extremely concerned about the need for an operation and whether or not I would ever be able to get back to work,” said Mr Mayne.

“I’m so grateful for the help and support GMB and Thompsons have given me. It was a difficult case and they pursued it aggressively.”

Tom Brennan from the GMB, said: “Gerard Mayne’s case proves that even union men can get it wrong. We would urge all employees to join their trade union so they can get the support they require at their time of need.”

Ms Webb said: “If Eastman Chemicals had carried out a risk assessment and provided permanent lifting gear, Mr Mayne’s injuries could have been avoided. To begin with the defendants denied liability. We then issued court proceedings and put forward a compromise offer which they accepted.”

Nobody from Eastman Chemicals was available to comment.

JBarwise@cngroup.co.uk

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