Beecham Peacock have achieved settlements for a number of workers who developed repetitive strain injury while working under difficult conditions in a factory dispensary.

The workers were employed to mix raw materials together to produce pharmaceuticals in the dispensary at Sanofi in Newcastle. The job involved a lot of heavy lifting, as well as repetitive scooping movements, which caused many of them long term problems.

Colin Howe, who was awarded £10,000.00 in compensation for his injuries, had worked in the dispensary for more than 20 years. He developed problems with his back, neck and arms after years of working in the very difficult conditions.

He said: “It was always very hot in the dispensary and we would be stooping and lifting all the time. It was awful for our posture. So many of the lads had problems with their backs, necks and arms. It was pretty unpleasant.”

Mr Howe started having problems in 2002, and his symptoms got worse and worse. His union, Unite, referred him to Beecham Peacock. They were able to secure treatment and compensation for Mr Howe, along with several other workers who were in a similar position.

He said: “I think some of the lads were slightly reluctant to rock the boat at first, but we knew that we had to speak up because so many of us were suffering so badly with our health. I wanted to bring a claim because I want to keep working as long as I can, and the way things were going I wouldn’t have been able to. I didn’t want to keep putting my health at risk.”

Following the introduction of new safety measures by Sanofi, Mr Howe’s symptoms have improved and he estimates that he is now 80% better than he was at his worst. After the closure of the Sanofi factory this summer, Mr Howe plans to retrain and look for a new part time position within the health service.

Mr Howe said: “I’ve been really pleased with the way my case has gone. Beecham Peacock were brilliant, and I was happy with the service from start to finish.”

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