Delivery Driver Injured In Fall At Work Calls For Firms To Prioritise Health And Safety

66-Year-Old Struggled To Care For Disabled Wife After Suffering Injury

08.05.2013

By Suzanne Rutter

A delivery driver who was left struggling to look after his disabled wife and still suffers pain in his wrist after breaking it in a fall at work is calling for a greater focus on safety in the workplace following the settlement of his case.

Keith Twelvetrees, of Gibbons Walk in Sheffield, suffered horrific injuries to his shoulder and wrist in December 2011 when he fell over a pallet left in the middle of the pathway while making a delivery to MAS Frozen Foods Ltd, based in Handsworth.

As he plummeted to the floor, the boxes he was carrying crashed onto his hand, leaving him in excruciating pain. He was rushed to the accident and emergency ward at Northern General Hospital where scans confirmed he had broken his wrist and damaged his shoulder.

His lawyers, workplace injury experts at Irwin Mitchell, said the 66-year-old has since received £22,000 from MAS Frozen Foods Ltd after they admitted his injuries – which still affect him even now - could have been avoided. 

The sales administrator at Sheaf Valley Supplies in Darnall was forced to endure two painful operations, eight months of physiotherapy to relieve the shoulder injury he sustained and, though he has since regained some movement in his wrist, still suffers constant pain and discomfort.

He was left struggling to care for his wife Maureen, who is reliant on a wheelchair and suffers from a debilitating back condition, and was unable to drive for six weeks. The damage to his wrist is permanent meaning that even after he returned to work Keith was placed on light duties.

Rae Cox, an expert workplace injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office representing him, said: “Keith suffered a really painful injury which needed surgery to rebuild his wrist with a metal plate, followed by eight months of physiotherapy.

“Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment and companies have a duty to protect people, whether they are an employee or not, from hazards like this. Keith’s case shows the lasting impact incidents like this can have on someone’s life and we hope other firms learn valuable lessons from this case so incidents like this can be prevented in future.”

Keith, who has three grown up children and has been married to Maureen for 45 years, says the fall has had a massive impact on his life. He has had to rely on his wife and daughter to help with everyday tasks such as housework and cooking and has been unable to enjoy his golf and fishing hobbies.

He said: “The fall was really quite frightening and has had a massive impact on my life and what I could do to help my disabled wife. I landed so heavily on my wrist that my hand seemed to be hanging from my wrist, it was excruciating.

“The surgery I had to put a metal plate into my wrist was really painful and I still suffer a clicking sensation and discomfort even now. Being in a cast during Christmas 2011 and into the New Year was uncomfortable and inconvenient as was not being able to carry or lift things properly. I certainly couldn’t play golf or go fishing, which I love and even now I don’t know if I will be able to go back on the course.

“It was also hard not being able to look after my wife and do the things I used to for her properly as well and we had to rely on our daughter much more for help round the house.

“I’m relieved the settlement has finally been agreed so we can start to move on with our lives. I also hope my experience is a stark reminder for other businesses that things like this can have a massive impact on people’s lives. I don’t want anyone else to suffer like I have because a company didn’t prioritise health and safety.”

For more information about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Accident At Work Claims.