Fall at work in office

A civil servant has received £8,000 in compensation after needing surgery following a fall in the workplace.

Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union member Marilyn McKenzie, 58, needed an operation on her left knee after she tripped over the lid of a socket hatch embedded into the floor at her offices at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in Hartshead Square, Sheffield.

The lid was often left up after the offices were cleaned by property management giant Mitie.

Torn cartilage sustained in acccident

Mrs McKenzie suffered a torn cartilage and later needed surgery to repair it.

The secure print operator was forced to take three weeks off work following the operation suffered discomfort and restricted movement.

Following the accident she was in pain but carried on working and was advised by colleagues to pursue a claim for compensation. Several of them had also tripped on the socket lid at various times, though had not been injured.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

After she tripped over it a second time she contacted her union. She wasn’t injured in the second trip but felt that something needed to be done to stop the accidents happening.

PCS instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation for the first accident. Thompsons argued that Mitie had a responsibility to ensure it left the workplace in a safe condition. Mitie settled the claim out of court.

Mrs McKenzie said: “After my fall I did my best to battle through the pain. I thought that it would soon get better but I soon realised that my injury was much more serious than I first thought. I had to wait several months for the surgery but kept on working despite the pain.

“Things are much better now but my knee does still play up. I find it difficult to kneel and have to be careful when I’ve been sat down for a long time.

“At first I was uncertain about claiming compensation but when it became clear that the problem still hadn’t been addressed I felt it was important to claim to make sure it didn’t happen again.”

Workplaces must be free from all hazards, no matter how small

Carl Banks, health and safety officer for PCS, said: “We are pleased we have been able to help Mrs McKenzie to claim compensation through our free legal service. We hope this claim will prompt Mitie to address its health and safety policies.”

Nick Martindale from Thompsons Solicitors added: “This should act as a warning to other employers. Something as small as a socket lid can cause a painful injury if it is not stored away correctly. Care must be taken to ensure the workplace is free from all hazards, no matter how small.”