Our client, Mrs Elizabeth McKechnie, was employed by Lees Factory as a packer when she was involved in a workplace accident on 14 October 2016.
Mrs McKechnie's job requires her to pack confectionery products into boxes as well as clean up the factory area. On the day of her incident, she was sweeping up around line 3 of the factory. After she collected dirt on the floor, she bent over with a dustpan and brush to sweep it up, crouching down on her knees. As she stood back up, she hit the right side of her head on the metal box containing the on and off switch for the machine that sends boxes down the line. These switches are present at every line and protrude out of the machines they are attached to, putting workers at risk of colliding with them.
Immediately after catching her head, Mrs McKechnie felt dizzy. She put her hand up to her head and noticed that it was bleeding. As she was feeling disorientated, colleagues came to her assistance, getting her a chair and calling an ambulance.
The paramedics arrived and took her to hospital, where a nurse examined her head and cleaned up the bleeding from the wound.
Our client didn't take any time off work and therefore didn’t suffer any loss of earnings, but her head injury did still affect her life.
For instance, her head kept bleeding during the recovery period, and she struggled with washing and brushing her hair. She also suffered from a headache for a couple of days following the accident, which prevented her from walking her dog – a hobby she very much enjoys.
Mrs McKechnie was able to instruct Thompsons' work accident solicitors through her union Usdaw. We then proceeded to intimate a claim to her employer, beginning the compensation claim process.
The metal boxes protruding from the machines created a clear workplace hazard, and more should have been done to protect workers from them. Our client also informed us that she and a colleague had similar accidents before involving the metal boxes.
Mrs McKechnie's employer admitted liability for the accident. And put forward an offer of £1,500 in full and final settlement. However, we felt this was too low to compensate for the injury sufficiently, and we advised our client that we could likely get an increased offer if we put forward medical evidence in relation to her injury.
Therefore, we obtained a medical report from a consultant in emergency medicine, which confirmed the extent of the laceration to Mrs McKechnie's head, allowing for a three-month period of recovery. When the insurance company acting on behalf of the employer received this information, they proposed an offer of £2,500 compensation.
After further discussions, our client again rejected their offer. This led to the defender putting forward an offer of £2,950. Mrs McKechnie confirmed to us she wanted to accept this sum. We reached a settlement on 8 August 2017.