Call for an initial consultation

  • Sheffield 0114 272 9184
  • Chesterfield 01246 229 393
  • Hathersage 01433650718


Compensation for man who sustains thumb injury at work

Graysons’ personal injury experts have won £3,500 in compensation for a Nottinghamshire supply teacher who injured his thumb whilst at work.

Last updated on July 26th, 2017 at 03:11 pm

thumb injury at work

Not actual client image

Barry Wells was working as a cover supervisor at the Dukeries Academy on a fixed term contract.  He covered all subjects and all ages of pupils.

Fire door used as entrance to classroom

On the day of the accident, Barry was teaching a year 9/10 class in the keyboard room.  Under normal circumstances, this room was accessed via a door through the main music classroom, but the head of the music department had told Barry not to use that door as he didn’t want a class of students traipsing through his classroom, disturbing his pupils.   Barry was told to use the fire exit door in the keyboard room at all times, which gave direct access to the outside of the building.  It was common practice for Barry and the pupils to use this door for some time and all staff were aware of it.

Barry knew that the door was not suitable for everyday use, but did as was requested.  The door opened by being pushed from one side and closed very quickly and Barry needed to hold it open for pupils to enter and exit the classroom.

Slammed fire door causes thumb injury

The accident happened during the last lesson on a Friday afternoon and the pupils were very eager to get out of the classroom and were congregating outside the music department with other pupils. Barry held the door open for the pupils to leave when one of them struck the door causing it to swing back very quickly, trapping Barry’s right thumb between the door and the door frame. He felt immediate pain in his thumb and arm and cried out in pain.

He reported the accident and a first aider was called.  She strapped up his thumb, entered the accident into the accident book and told Barry to go to A & E, which he did.  X-rays were taken at Gainsborough Hospital and Barry was told that his very swollen thumb was not broken, but he was given a sling and splint to wear.  He went back to the hospital a couple of weeks later and further x-rays and an MRI scan showed a hairline fracture and tendon and ligament problem.  He was fitted with a cast that he had to wear for about 3 months.  After it was removed Barry had steroid injections and physiotherapy.  He never returned to work at the academy as it terminated his contract due to his poor attendance. He secured a further contract about a year later.

Barry not to blame for thumb injury

Barry believed that the Dukeries Academy was to blame for his accident.  He had asked the head of music and another supervisor if he should really be using the fire door on several occasions and was told to continue.  However, a health and safety adviser to the academy wrote ‘this door should only be used in the event of an emergency as it is clearly identified as a “fire door” and should only be used as such’.

Graysons negotiates settlement with academy

Barry contacted Graysons to see if he could claim compensation against Dukeries Academy.  Graysons’ experts contacted the academy, but liability wasn’t admitted so court proceedings were issued.  However, the academy decided to settle the claim just before it went to court and Graysons’ experts negotiated a settlement of £3,500.

If you have had an accident that you feel was not your fault, and you want advice on claiming compensation, please contact one of our experts who will advise you on your claim.

You can find out more about claiming compensation for accidents at work on our web pages.

scroll to top