A civil servant has received a substantial sum in compensation after needing three operations on her ankle following a fall in the workplace.

The 43-year-old Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union member from Thornton Heath, Surrey has been left with a permanently swollen right ankle after she slipped on a wet floor and fell down a flight of steps at her offices at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in Balham High Road, London.

The floor at the top of the stairs had just been mopped and no warning sign had been put out.

The grants and loans decision maker for the DWP broke her ankle and needed three operations over the next year.

She has been left with a swollen ankle, impaired mobility, and is likely to need a further operation to fuse her ankle in the future.

She had to take a year off work and whilst she has returned to her job must now use a specialist chair and desk. She can no longer exercise and must be careful about the type of shoes she wears. She cannot stand or walk for long periods of time.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following the accident she contacted her trade union, the PCS, which instructed its lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that the DWP should have ensured the cleaner was aware of the need to put up signs after mopping the floors.

The DWP admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

The PCS member said: “This accident has affected every part of my life. I used to be fairly active and enjoyed going to the gym but I can no longer run and I even find walking or standing for long periods difficult.

“I had to take a year off work due to all the operations I needed on my ankle. It was a long time to be off work and I was in a lot of pain for much of that year. I decided to claim compensation as I wanted to make sure that this didn’t happen to anyone else.”

Carl Banks, PCS's health and safety officer added: “Slips and trips are the most common cause of major injuries at work but often they can be avoided by putting in place simple health and safety measures. In this case putting up a warning sign would have prevented our member’s ongoing ankle injury.”

Christalla Christodoulidou from Thompsons Solicitors added: “This should act as a warning to other employers to ensure that their health and safety procedures are up to date and are being implemented by all their staff members. Our client has endured a lot of pain as a result of this accident which could easily have been avoided.”