A Birmingham City Council worker whose job was to service and repair playground equipment in local parks, has been awarded compensation by his employer following an accident in June 2005. Robin Watkins, 46, of Sutton Coldfield, was removing a Victorian swing when the ladder he was using slid sideways, causing him to fall.

Mr Watkins suffered multiple fractures to his left ankle which has left him with 10-15% disability. He was subsequently off work seven months, but has since been able to return to his job subject to certain restrictions.

“At first, I didn’t give any thought to claiming compensation,” said Mr Watkins. “People visiting me said that I would have a case, so I sought legal advice through my union, the GMB in Birmingham. They put me in touch with Thompsons Solicitors who are professional personal injury specialists and handle cases for GMB members. If nothing else, it was my opportunity to ensure that the same incident wouldn’t happen to other workers.”

The Council initially denied liability but after it was pointed out that they had failed to comply with the new Work at Height Regulations 2005, which came into force shortly before Mr Watkins’ accident, they admitted liability. The claim was settled for £21,000 and Mr Watkins’ employer subsequently sent him on ladder and scaffolding courses.

Dominic Hinks, Regional Organiser, for GMB in Birmingham, said: “Safety regulations are there to protect employees and sometimes employers either don’t take their responsibilities seriously or ignore them completely. This type of action serves as a wake up call to employers who need to act in the interests of all their employees.”

Commenting on his case, his personal injury solicitor, Marc Ruff, at Thompsons Solicitors in Birmingham, said: “Mr Watkins didn’t give any thought initially to making a claim, but his decision to proceed with his case was important, and not just for the compensation. His actions mean that others are less likely to suffer a similar fate in the future.”