Firefighter injures shoulder shifting pigs out of a lorry

pigAn FBU member from Louth in Lincolnshire has received £108,000 in compensation after an accident at work left him with a permanent shoulder injury.

At the time of the accident, he was part of a team responding to a call where a lorry that was transporting pigs had turned over. Firefighters were instructed by their station manager to move the dead pigs out of the back of the lorry to allow access to the animals that were trapped but still alive.

The lorry was lying on a slope, which meant two of the firefighters had to climb up the incline to access the back of the vehicle. The FBU member was standing at the top of the slope while his colleague was standing inside of the lorry.

The men were able to move some of the animals by lifting them over the lip in the back door of the lorry, but they were heavy and difficult to grip. When lifting one of the pigs out of the doorway the FBU member slipped on the embankment and fell backwards, landing on his elbows and jolting his left shoulder.

The man was diagnosed with a muscle injury but after four months of physiotherapy he was re-examined and it was discovered that he had in fact torn his shoulder muscle and tendons. Nine months after his accident he had surgery but doctors were unable to repair the damaged tendons.

He was referred to a rehabilitation centre run by the Fire Fighters Charity where he had a further six months of physiotherapy, after which he was fit enough to return to work.

The FBU instructed personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim of compensation on its member’s behalf.

He said: “I am relieved to be back in work on full operational duties but it is a struggle to use my left arm above shoulder height. Despite making good progress since my fall, I doubt that I’ll be able to continue in my line of work until retirement age because it is so physically demanding.”

FBU national officer Dave Green said: “Situations involving overturned vehicles need to be carefully assessed to avoid further casualties. In this case, our member was sent in without a proper risk assessment of the environment in which he would be operating and the result was a permanent injury. A little bit more thought and the personal cost to our member’s health and to his brigade’s finances could have been avoided.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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