Firefighter awarded thousands for 'broken glove'

The firefighter cut a tendon in his finger on a stray piece of fiber

By Jennifer Williams
Manchester Evening News

MANCHESTER, England — A firefighter has been awarded thousands of pounds in compensation after hurting himself putting on his own gloves.

The man sued his bosses after sliced a tendon in his finger on a piece of stray fibre.

Greater Manchester Fire Service (GMFS) paid out 5,000 in compensation and costs after accepting that the gloves were broken'. The anonymous pay-out is one of 150,000 worth of claims given to injured firefighters in just three months.

Fire chiefs defended the figures, saying compensation settlements had nearly halved thanks to improvements in equipment and training.

And they said payouts for injuries were inevitable because firefighters were willing to take so many risks for the job.

Figures obtained by the M.E.N. under Freedom of Information laws show 18 firefighters were awarded compensation by GMFS between April and June this year for injuries dating back as far as 2007.

The catalogue of claims ranged from a scald from a broken shower to a burn caused by hot fat.

In one case, the service paid out 20,000 after water from a burst hose sent a firefighter flying during a training exercise, knocking him over and seriously injuring his knee.

Another got 6,000 after hitting his head getting into his fire engine, while one crew member was hurt by his appliance's seat.

The biggest pay-out involved an employee who hurt his neck and shoulder after being hit by metal sheeting in 2007. He had tried to claim 210,000 and the service paid out 25,005 after agreeing a settlement.

In 2010 a crew member fell down an inspection pit because the makeshift bridge above it was not safe earning a 15,000 payout.

And more than 4,000 was paid after a crew member cut their arm on a broken window while trying to rescued a trapped householder during the Cumbria floods.

A total of 18 other compensation claims from staff are currently still being dealt with.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter O'Reilly said: There has been a 45 per cent reduction in the number of firefighter injuries since 2006 however we are an emergency service and our crews will take highly calculated risks to save lives and property.

Union chiefs said compensation provided a vital safety net for firefighters hurt at work and encouraged the service to provide better equipment and training.

Kevin Brown, from the Fire Brigades Union, said: We have worked as a union with the employers to reduce these cases. We'd much rather our members didn't have to receive any compensation at all.

Copyright 2012 Manchester Evening News
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