A council groundsman who suffered a serious knee injury at work, and hasn’t been able to return to his job, has received compensation after help from his trade union, UNISON.

John Brown, 65, from Mitcham in Surrey needed surgery on his right knee after he suffered ligament damage having tripped on a piece of protruding concrete at Morden Recreational Ground.

Mr Brown, who had worked for London Borough of Morden for 10 years was unloading his work truck and placing tools in the park’s shed when he tore the ligaments in his knee. He needed surgery and was forced to walk with a stick for five months. He still suffers from pain in his knee when he attempts to kneel but otherwise it has healed well.

London Borough of Morden admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for £11,000. The council was liable because it had been aware of the protruding concrete but did nothing to fix it.

Sadly, after the accident Mr Brown was diagnosed with cancer and decided to take voluntary redundancy.

Injuries were entirely avoidable

Mr Brown said: “When I tripped I felt my knee go immediately, I was rolling on the floor in agony. The pain was immense. My initial thought was that I might be off work for a couple of days but in fact I needed surgery and the recovery was very slow. When I was diagnosed with cancer I took voluntary redundancy but I doubt that, being unable to kneel, I would have been able to return to my role as groundsman in any case.”

“The trade union has been fantastic in supporting me through this. If they hadn’t made the point to me that it wasn’t my fault and that I could get compensation for all I went through I would never have thought about it.”

Linda Perks from UNISON added: “Mr Brown was a loyal employee who was sadly injured because his bosses failed to sort out a known problem in a pathway that he and other colleagues used to carry equipment to and from a tool shed. Making sure tripping hazards are fixed is so basic, yet the consequences of not doing can be huge for individuals and employers. We hope that the council will now be more vigilant.”

Shivani Vadukul from Thompsons Solicitors, who took the case for UNISON, said: “Mr Brown suffered a nasty injury to his knee which needed surgery. His injuries were entirely avoidable - traffic routes in the workplace are meant to be safe for use and fit for purpose.”