Butcher's leg injury because of broken pallet

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When he was involved in a workplace accident on 1 June 2015, our client was working as a supervisor and butcher for Scotbeef.

Our client's job requires him to organise meat that's sent to him from the slaughterhouse. He has to remove trays of meat from pallets and place them into trolleys, sorting them by their date.

These pallets can store 30 trays. Once a pallet has been completely emptied, our client is then required to lift it up and take it to the debagging area so it can be stacked with the other empty pallets. After our client had taken all the trays out of one pallet, he lifted it onto its side, intending to drag it over to the debagging area.

However, when he did so, the underside of the pallet came away and struck his right shin.

The consequences

Immediately after the accident, our client felt blood trickling down his leg. He went to see the first-aider, who cleaned and dressed the wound for him, and then returned to work. He continued to work for a few days following the accident but soon realised the wound had become infected. He therefore visited his GP, who prescribed him with a course of antibiotics to help clear the infection. He also started attending the treatment room at the Rutherglen Health Centre so they could bandage the wound and monitor the healing process.

This injury was particularly problematic for our client because he'd had a skin graft to the shin area for a previous injury. During treatment it became apparent that the impact caused a breakdown of the skin and an ulceration on his leg. The ulcer meant he had to spend a further nine weeks attending an ulcer clinic within the health centre.

His injury meant the Scotbeef worker had to be absent from work for over two months following the accident, during which time he lost a considerable amount of earnings – in the sum of £4,362.78. He made a phased return to work.

The settlement

The client was a member of the union Usdaw, and it was through them that he was able to instruct Thompsons' work accident solicitors.

We intimated a claim to his employer, who admitted liability for the incident. Because they had provided our client with unsafe working equipment, and he was injured as a result, they were in violation of several regulations, including the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The defender initially put forward an offer of £7,000. However, considering the amount of suffering the accident had caused our client, we felt we should be able to get a higher offer. We discussed this amount with our client, who decided to reject the offer. This led to an increased offer of £8,000 being put forward, which our client confirmed he wanted to accept.

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