An aircraft fitter, who after slipping on a pool of water at work suffered back and leg injuries so severe that he was forced to retire from work, has secured compensation.

Timothy Powell, 58, from Bristol, was working for GKN Aerospace Services Ltd when heslipped on a pool of water on the shop floor after a machine used for polishing aluminium components leaked.

The excess water from the machine usually flowed into a container but this had been displaced, causing the water to leak directly onto the floor where Timothy and his colleagues were working. Timothy had previously reported the fault to GKN Aerospace Services but the company failed to fix the leak.

As he walked across the shop he slipped on the water, which caused him to fall and land heavily on his back. He also twisted his right knee as he fell.

Serious impact injury

The accident caused a serious impact injury to his knee and aggravated a pre-existing injury to his back.

As a result, the member of Unite the Union was unable to work for a year, after which time he was advised by his doctor to retire on the grounds of ill health. His injuries continue to cause him pain and he is forced to wear a leg brace, which severely affects his mobility.

Following the accident, Timothy contacted Unite Legal Services to pursue a claim for compensation who instructed personal injury specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate a claim for their member.

Life changing

Timothy said: “I am extremely frustrated about the events that led up to this life changing accident, and how I was treated afterwards.

“I had already told my employers about the leak and they failed to fix it. As a result, I have suffered painful and limiting injuries and was forced to give up my job. Even after I had retired, GKN Aerospace Services failed to pay my pension for more than two years, which had a huge impact and financial strain on me and my family.

“I was determined to pursue a claim for compensation; the negative impact it has had on my life and on my family has been very hard and all because my employers failed to meet basic health and safety standards.”

Steve Preddy, regional officer for Unite, said: “Timothy spent four decades working at the company but was ultimately let down by his employer’s inability to maintain a safe place of work. Water on the floor is an accident waiting to happen.

“Health and safety regulations are in place to protect workers, employers who ignore them almost always pay out more in the end than it would have cost to fix the problem.”