Factory Worker Forced To Leave Job Due To Hand Problems
A former Consett factory worker left ‘in agony’ after repetitive work led him to develop carpal tunnel syndrome has revealed how he is looking positively to the future after lawyers helped him secure a six-figure settlement.
Steven Baird, 43, developed pain and stiffness in his hands shortly after moving into the paint plant at Grorud Engineering at the end of 2013, where the task of preparing car parts for painting required him to repeatedly bend and flex his wrists at an extremely fast pace.
While he initially thought nothing of it, the symptoms worsened to the point where he sought advice from his GP. Following a range of tests, he was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in March 2014 and has since undergone several surgical procedures in an effort to alleviate the symptoms.
After determining that his problems may be linked to his work, Steven instructed specialist workplace illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office to investigate his case. Now, after the experts helped him secure a settlement from Grorud Engineering Ltd, he has revealed how he is now looking to put the incident behind him.
Kirstie Devine, the legal expert at Irwin Mitchell who represents Steven, said:
Expert Opinion“This is a shocking case which demonstrates the huge strain and impact that repetitive work of this nature can have on an individual.
“Not only has our client been left with permanent pain in his hands, but he has also been forced to leave his job and retrain following his experiences too.
“This is an important reminder to businesses that they should always assess the potential risks of work and ensure that steps are taken to protect workers. Failing to do so could have major consequence as seen in Steven’s case.” Kirstie Devine - Solicitor
Steven first worked at Grorud for a brief spell in 2007 before then getting a permanent contract at the factory in 2008. While he initially worked in the nut welding department, he moved into the paint plant in December 2013.
He recalled: “My key responsibilities in the paint plant were to place parts on spring jigs which were then put on a conveyor and painted. The role was very repetitive and parts needed to be twisted and pulled down onto a spring or hook, with his requiring me to bend and flex my wrist over and over again.
“It was important to do the work quickly and I would estimate in a seven-hour shift that I would have to attach more than 20,000 parts onto the jigs.”
Shortly after moving into the paint department, Steven started to develop pains and stiffness in his hands. While he initially thought it was just his hands getting used to a different type of work, the problems led him to see his GP.
He said: “I was referred for physio but it made no difference, so then I had tests which confirmed I had carpal tunnel syndrome. I had surgery in June 2014 but it was not successful and shortly afterwards I had severe pain in my hands. I was in agony.
“I was off work for a number of months and then after I received another sick note at the start of 2015 the company offered me redundancy.”
While further surgery has improved the feeling in Steven’s hands, he has gone on to develop complex regional pain syndrome and still struggles to use his hands on a daily basis.
He added: “I have to take a lot of medication to manage the pain caused by my condition and it is just very hard to accept that all of this was caused by my work. It is frustrating that I was never warned at any point about the risks or given any equipment to protect me from harm.
“While nothing will change what has happened, I am happy to have secured a settlement and hope now to be able to move forward with my life. I am even retraining in accountancy and am planning to make a new start career-wise.
“I hope my story is an important reminder to employers of the need to make health and safety a priority. No one else should face the problems I have been through.”
Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in carpal tunnel syndrome cases.