Unison secures £38m tally

Public sector union secures a record £38m for members claiming compensation
for personal injury in 1999

Personal injury claims totalling a record £38m were secured by the public
service union Unison for members last year.

The union settled more than 4,000 claims by members injured during the
course of work, a large number being back injuries by nurses, care assistants
and local government manual workers.

But Unison head of health and safety Hugh Robertson said the union had mixed
feelings about the thousands awarded.

"The whole basis of our concern is prevention of injury," he said.
"So in a sense this figure is a failure. But it indicates that we must
redouble our efforts to ensure employers remove the risks and put in place the
right provisions for employee safety.

"These awards are the alternative to organisations forming the
necessary regulations."

Those receiving compensation include occupational therapy assistant Alison
Hockaday from Durham. She received £600,000 after slipping at work, which meant
her right leg had to be amputated below the knee.

A nursing auxiliary in Herefordshire was awarded £140,000 for a back injury
sustained from lifting heavy patients.

Theatre sister Marie Davis received £60,000 when back problems led to her
losing her job. She hurt her back lifting a patient in 1994. Two years later she
slipped on a wet floor and damaged a disc.

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