A road worker who so badly damaged his ankle working in the dark on an unlit stretch of the A52 that he needed surgery has received compensation after help from his trade union.

Dean Ness, 35, from Chesterfield was off work for three months following the operation to mend torn ligaments in his ankle when he stumbled on the kerb while putting cones on the road at Spondon, Derby.

Mr Ness was working the night shift for Carillion Plc on the back of a road maintenance truck, placing cones on the road to close it off so work could be done on the central reservation. When he got off the truck he turned his left ankle on the kerb, which couldn’t be seen in the pitch dark. Even though colleagues had complained about the lack of lighting on that stretch of the road, Carillion had failed to rig-up temporary lighting so he could see what he was doing.

Despite suffering from a swollen and badly bruised ankle he attempted to work through the pain for a number of weeks. When it became clear the ankle was not healing he was referred to physiotherapy and then surgery to stabilise his ankle.

Instructed Thompsons Solicitors to Investigate Claim for Compensation

Following the surgery he contacted his trade union, the GMB for advice, which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that Carillion Plc should have provided Mr Ness with equipment to enable him to work in the dark safely.

Carillion admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for over £8,000.

Mr Ness said: “After the accident I struggled through the pain at work as I didn’t want to take the time off. I thought that my ankle would get better over time. It became clear that it wasn’t healing and I was shocked when they said I needed surgery.

“In the end I had to take three months off work and it was then I decided to speak to the GMB about their legal services as I was concerned about the impact of taking so much sick leave.”

Tim Roache from the GMB added: “Carillion is responsible for maintaining miles of the UK’s road network. They are experienced in the industry and we would expect that experience to translate to provide a safe working environment for its employees. Instead the firm ignored the staff’s concern about working in a poorly lit section of the road and as a result Mr Ness was badly injured.”

Emma Foster from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Employers are required by law to provide suitable work equipment to its staff to ensure that they are able to carry out their jobs safely. Mr Ness was left to navigate his way from the road maintenance truck onto the ground in complete darkness. It’s no surprise that he ended up with a serious injury to his ankle.”