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28th April 2011

Training prison pays out damages to officer injured due to lack of coaching

Injured at work

A Prison officer who was allocated a new job without any training and subsequently became injured has received compensation after help from the Prison Officer's Association's (POA) legal team.

The 56-year-old from Liverpool suffered from soft tissue damage in his groin following the accident in September 2006 at HMP Risley.

Despite being in the Prison Service for 21 years, he had only been working as a workshop instructor for two weeks when the accident happened.

HMP Risley is a training prison and the POA member was training prisoners to recycle CDs.

Accident caused damage to groin

He was using a hydraulic pallet truck to move a pallet of CDs out of a dark storage container when the truck became stuck.

He attempted to move the truck by hand but as he was pulling it he damaged his groin.

He suffered a soft tissue injury and a labral tear in his hip which may need to be operated on in the future. Doctors said the injury had accelerated degenerative changes in his hip by five to ten years.

He was able to continue working whilst injured but he can no longer play badminton or five-a-side football and must be careful when working out in the gym.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following the accident he contacted his union, the POA for advice. The POA instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that the member should have been trained in how to use the hydraulic pallet truck before being allowed to drive it.

HMP Risley admitted 80% liability and settled the claim out of court for £7,000.

The member said: "I'm resigned to the fact I have this injury now but I have found that it has restricted the type of exercise I am able to do. You have to remain fit to work in the prison service and this accident has made this much harder than it would otherwise have been.

"I know now that I should have refused to work with the truck until I had received the appropriate training. At the time I was just trying to get on with my job."

Injured as a result of not being given any training

Steve Gillan, POA General Secretary said: "It's ironic that a training prison has had to pay damages to a member of staff who was injured as a result of not being given any training. HMP Risley should have known that it was unacceptable for a member of staff to be using machinery without first being shown the ropes."

Amanda Duffy from Thompsons Solicitors added: "A simple and quick training session for this member would have saved him from the pain and agony he has suffered. He has fortunately been able to continue working in his job but now faces an uphill struggle keeping fit because his injury prevents him from carrying out certain types of exercise."

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