Injured docker loses compensation fight

A FORMER dock worker is today furious after losing his battle for compensation against Felixstowe Port after suffering neck injuries.Michael Shenton, 46, who worked as a warehouseman for nearly five years, sustained neck injuries while stacking barrels of paper up to 30 feet high, which he claimed was above the recommended safety level.

By Georgina James

A FORMER dock worker is today furious after losing his battle for compensation against Felixstowe Port after suffering neck injuries.

Michael Shenton, 46, who worked as a warehouseman for nearly five years, sustained neck injuries while stacking barrels of paper up to 30 feet high, which he claimed was above the recommended safety level.

It's the latest in a string of claims made against the port by employees who suffer injuries while working in the quay side and in the warehouses.

The most recent high profile case involved Kevin Cuckow, 32, a trainee berth operator who was crushed by a container as he worked from a cage suspended over a ship in 2000.

Also lorry driver Brian Robinson received more than £80,000 in compensation following an accident at the port. He suffered a fractured spine in May 1996 when his lorry was lifted ten feet into the air by a crane and then dumped on the ground while he was still in it.

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Mr Shenton of Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich, first started feeling pains in his neck in 1999.

"I had to stack the reels so high, I spent most of my day with my neck in the air looking up at piles of paper 30 feet high.

"I became dizzy and nauseated each time I looked up. My vision was distorted when I turned my head to the right and I developed pins and needles down my right arm and lost a bit of feeling in it," said Mr Shenton.

Mr Shenton says he was examined by his union doctor and a port insurance company doctor whose first medical reports suggested his condition was work related.

However both doctors have now agreed that Mr Shenton's condition could have been caused by a non-work related event. They say his condition may have been aggravated by his work but do not feel it was a direct result of it.

Mr Shenton, who is classed as 35 per cent disabled, no longer works for the docks.

Having lost his battle for compensation, Mr Shenton said: "I am disgusted by the court ruling."

Paul Davey, corporate affairs manager at the port, said: "We do not comment on individual cases but we do have extensive training regimes in place to ensure safety rules are understood by workers and supervisors and to stress that the rules must be adhered to at all times.

"Failure to follow safety rules is a disciplinary offence and in serious cases can lead to dismissal."

A spokeswoman for the health and safety executive said: "We can not comment on individual cases.

"However, there is one case still ongoing regarding a fatality in 2000 at the Port of Felixstowe.

"Also, officers investigated two incidents this year at the port which happened on March 15 but no action was taken."