A delivery driver from Sheffield has been awarded £22,000 in compensation after breaking his wrist in a fall at work, leaving him struggling to look after his disabled wife.
Keith Twelvetrees, aged 66, of Gibbons Walk, Gleadless, badly injured his shoulder and wrist in December 2011 when he fell over a pallet left in the middle of a path while making a delivery to MAS Frozen Foods Ltd, based in Handsworth.
As he crashed to the floor, the boxes he was carrying slammed onto his hand, leaving him in excruciating pain.
He was rushed to accident and emergency at the Northern General Hospital where scans confirmed he had broken his wrist and damaged his shoulder.
MAS Frozen Foods Ltd admitted his injuries – which still affect him even now - could have been avoided, and through his lawyers, workplace injury experts Irwin Mitchell, Keith has since received £22,000.
He was forced to endure two painful operations, eight months of physiotherapy to relieve the shoulder injury and, though he has since regained some movement in his wrist, still suffers constant pain and discomfort.
The sales administrator for Sheaf Valley Supplies in Darnall is still able to work only three days a week rather than full time.
And he has been left struggling to care for his wife Maureen, who is reliant on a wheelchair and suffers a debilitating back condition.
The damage to his wrist is permanent meaning even after he returned to work Keith was placed on light duties.
Keith’s solicitor Rae Cox 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.
“Keith’s case shows the lasting impact incidents can have on someone’s life, and we hope other firms learn valuable lessons so incidents like this can be prevented in future.”
Keith, who has four grandchildren and three grown-up children, and has been married to Maureen for 45 years, said the fall hs 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 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, 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.”