Bakery Worker's Claim for Hand Injury in Machinery Accident

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On 14 March 2020 our client, Mr C McLaren, was involved in a workplace accident. He was referred to Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland via his union, the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU).

The background

As a bakery operator at a Warburtons bakery, Mr McLaren typically worked in three main areas: mixing, moulding and ovens, but on the day of the accident, a Saturday, he was involved in weekly cleaning processes.

Our client had been tasked with cleaning a divider; a job which typically requires three people. However, there were only two people carrying out the cleaning job on that day.

Our client had to lift the lid of the upper hatch on the equipment, then pull open a door so that the brake could be accessed to release the machine. The lid is supposed to stay in place with a lock hinge, but a strut failed and the lid slammed down onto our client's right hand. He suffered immediate pain and was sent to hospital, where his hand was x-rayed.

Luckily, no bones were fractured in Mr McLaren's hand, but he did suffer a soft-tissue injury.

Our client had previously warned management that the equipment was not in a proper state of repair and there had been at least one near-miss incident where the lid fell down and narrowly missed an operative's hand.

The consequences

The work accident solicitors at Thompsons intimated a work accident claim with Mr McLaren's employer. Lawyers for the defender stated that the accident was not foreseeable and they disputed the alleged repair and safety issues relating to the machine.

On our instruction, Mr McLaren was examined by a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon who confirmed that he had suffered a crush injury that would resolve in 10 to 12 months.

Having obtained a supporting witness statement from Mr McLaren's colleague who was present when he suffered the workplace machinery accident and confirmed that a strut had failed on the equipment, we raised court proceedings in the All Scotland Personal Injury Court.

The settlement

Shortly after the claim was raised, a formal offer in the sum of £4,500 was received from the defender. As Mr McLaren did not need to take time off from work following the personal injury accident, the claim was for solatium (pain and suffering) only.

In light of the available medical evidence, we felt the offer was reasonable and our client was happy to accept the sum as compensation for the crush injury.

Settlement was agreed on 11 January 2021.

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