Barnsley campaigner wins £4,000 claim for work injury

12 Mar 2009

John Kitching, 48, from Kingstone, Barnsley, jarred and damaged his shoulder while working as an operating theatre orderly at Barnsley Hospital in March 2007. The GMB shop steward had to take seven weeks off work and receive physiotherapy on his shoulder after injuring himself while disposing of clinical waste. He still suffers pain as a result of the injury and struggles to lift heavy objects fully. Mr Kitching, who has been a GMB member for 15 years and a shop steward for 10, pursued a claim for compensation through the union, and Barnsley Hospitals NHS Trust has now admitted liability and settled out of court. Mr Kitching said the hospital had been warned more than once by the GMB that the clinical waste bins, which did not have brakes and moved when waste was being deposited, were unsafe. He received his injury when the lid of the bin began to fall and he put an arm out to stop it hitting him.

He said: “The Barnsley health service branch of the GMB had warned the hospital about the clinical waste bins, but no action was ever taken. I decided to pursue compensation because I wanted the hospital to finally resolve this health and safety hazard, otherwise more people would be injured in the future.”

Tim Roache, from the GMB, added: “This accident could have been avoided quite simply by the employer listening to the GMB’s concerns and carrying out a suitable risk assessment to identify what was an obvious hazard and then putting safe procedures in place. It is disappointing that Mr Kitching had to take legal action to make them listen.”