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Water Engineer Receives Compensation Following Development Of Repetitive Strain Injury

A water engineer left in agony and unable to work after suffering a repetitive strain injury has spoken of his ordeal to raise awareness of the condition and urge companies to do more to protect their employees.

Mr A, from Northampton, was left with excruciating pain in his right hand after flushing over a thousand taps a week during his employment with Honeywell Control Systems Limited from 2007 to 2010.

He instructed industrial injury experts at national law firm Irwin Mitchell after being forced to give up his job. He recently secured an undisclosed settlement which in part will be used to cover his loss of earnings and his ongoing treatment, including physiotherapy.

Alex Shorey, a workplace injury specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office representing Mr A, said: "Companies have a duty of care to their staff, which includes ensuring that where the work is repetitive or involves forceful movements, a full risk assessment is carried out and proper training is provided.

“The work should be rotated and work periods involving a lot of repetition should be broken up with short frequent breaks. With proper precautions such as these the injury sustained by my client could have been avoided.

“Sadly, repetitive strain injuries are very common in jobs similar to this and we hope this case highlights the importance of companies following health and safety procedures to protect workers from this debilitating condition.”

Mr A began working for Honeywell as a water quality inspector in August 2007. Part of his duties involved flushing taps on a science park site based in Northampton which had multiple water outlets throughout the building. Mr A had to turn the taps on, check the temperature of the water and then close the taps fully again.

During a busy day, Mr A had between 250 and 300 taps to open and close, many of which were in awkward places to reach, making it harder to open and close and putting a great amount of strain on his right arm.

Two years into his employment Mr A began to feel discomfort in his right arm, wrist and elbow, and in February 2010 he consulted a GP who suggested that this type of work could be a factor and his role should be approached differently to assist with the pain.

Unfortunately, the pain became too much to deal with and after being signed off work Mr A subsequently left the company.

Mr A, who has only recently returned to work, said: “I received no health and safety training during my employment regarding the repetition of my work or indeed any warnings or advice around my duties. Many times I went to raise my concerns to management and the safety team but it felt like they cared more about making sure the work was completed than safety.

“I am glad that I have received justice but hope that my case acts as a warning to employers about the importance of protecting staff from repetitive strain injury.”

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.

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