Train Drivers Win CTS Disability Case

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


A union leader has said a "ground-breaking" judgment in favour of three train drivers over an industrial injury which leaves hands permanently disabled has set a precedent for many workers across the country.

The drivers, who worked for Arriva Trains Wales in Carmarthen, were between them awarded £22,000 in compensation at Swansea Crown Court.

It now paves the way for train drivers throughout the UK to claim compensation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), said Aslef.

The union argued that the drivers' symptoms were caused by repetitive work, adopting awkward wrist postures and operating brake and power controls in cramped conditions.

One of the drivers, Paul Studholme, 43, began suffering from CTS in 2004, saying it forced him to take over 10 months off work.

Following the judgment, he said: "It is a great relief that the judge has supported our argument. CTS forced me to go on the sick for a number of months and as a result I became depressed. The fact that three of us in the same depot all developed this condition shows that more should have been done to improve our working conditions."

Arriva Trains Wales said: "Following the judgment we will be taking the time to consider the implications of the decision and the next steps with our legal and health and safety advisers."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), is a medical condition in which the median nerve is compressed at the wrist, leading to paresthesis, numbness and muscle weakness in the hand. Night symptoms and waking up at night is a characteristic of carpal tunnel syndrome.

The definitive treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is carpal tunnel release surgery. Most cases of CTS are of unknown cause and the condition is most common in middle aged women. Many cases however are due to work, namely highly repetitive work which involves poor wrist posture or exposure to vibration from hand held vibratory tools. The condition is often debilitating and permanent as often surgery does not alleviate the symptoms completely.

Mark Allen of national Law Firm Irwin Mitchell said:

"Employers should be aware of the risks to employees carrying out work which involves awkward wrist postures and vibration exposure and undertake risk assessments with a view to ensuring that risks are eliminated or reduced to the lowest level possible. I hope that employers will in light of this case will take note and consider their working practices carefully so not to put workers at unnecessary risk."

If you or a loved one has suffered from repetitive strain injuries, such as bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar neuropathy and vibration white finger caused by conditions at work, our solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Industrial Disease Claims page for more information.