Compensation for prison officer injured in attack

A prison officer who was injured at work while trying to restrain a violent inmate has received £8,000 in compensation.

Michael Blinkhorn, 42, was off work for five months following the incident at HMP Wolds in East Yorkshire. Mr Blinkhorn, from Doncaster suffered an injury to his left thumb when he slipped on the cell floor while he and his colleagues were attempting to disarm a prisoner and restrain him.

During the incident the prisoner had become aggressive smashing his cell up and pulling the sink off the wall. He had spilt cleaning fluid across the floor and was brandishing a broken broom handle. Mr Blinkhorn and his colleagues entered the cell, wearing prison issued safety equipment which included a helmet, gloves and shin pads. However, he hadn’t been provided with the correct non-slip footwear as they weren’t available in his size.

The team then entered the cell in single file with the officer at the front holding a shield. Mr Blinkhorn slipped and fell bending his thumb back against the shield and his colleague fell on top of him.

Mr Blinkhorn went to hospital after the accident and was diagnosed with ligament and tendon damage to his thumb. He still suffers from pain and his thumb swells after use. Since the accident he has left the prison service and now works as a warehouse operative for the mobile phone company O2.

Following the accident Mr Blinkhorn contacted his union the GMB which instructed its lawyers to lodge a claim for workers compensation on his behalf. GSL UK Limited which employed Mr Blinkhorn at HMP Wold admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Mr Blinkhorn said: “I decided to claim compensation because this injury has affected my way of life. I used to be a keen golfer and cricketer but I can no longer hold a club or a bat properly. I’ve also left the prison service because after the accident. I started to feel like I was the prisoner. I was becoming stressed about the job and worried about what could happen.”

Tim Roache from the GMB added: “Had Mr Blinkhorn been provided with the correct shoes for his job this accident could have been avoided. Employers must make sure safety equipment is made available to their employees at all times.”

Laura Hadfield who represented Mr Blinkhorn added: “Prison officers work in a stressful and sometimes dangerous environment therefore it is important they are provided with the correct equipment to allow them to do their job safely. This incident shows how easy it can be for prison officers to be injured while doing their duty

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