The family of a terminal cancer sufferer who badly cut his hand on a glass window pane left propped up in his house by builders has received compensation.

Stephen Harding died aged 57 a few months later after losing his battle against skin cancer and his family continued his claim for compensation on his behalf, wanting to make sure no-one else had to suffer in a similar way again.

Mr Harding, a former stone mason and bricklayer, needed surgery on his hand after cutting it to the bone in February 2011. At the time he was undergoing radium treatment and had just returned home after a long day at the hospital.

He was unsteady on his feet and fell in the hallway. His hand struck the edge of the glass pane which had been removed by builders from the bathroom and propped against a wall in the hallway.

Thompsons Solicitors made personal injury claim for compensation

He needed 12 stitches and due to the nature of his radium treatment the wound kept opening up. He had to wear a bandage for five weeks and was still in tremendous pain almost four months later. He sadly died in July that year.

The work in Mr Harding’s bathroom was being carried out by Brown Building Contractors on behalf of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council.

The building contractors should have disposed of the glass in a skip outside the house.

Following the accident his daughter, Jayne Ford, asked her trade union UNISON for advice. UNISON instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation, which was settled for £1,000.

Builders must make sure that they follow health and safety regulations

Mrs Ford said: “We are grateful to UNISON and Thompsons for supporting us throughout this case. My dad was extremely ill at the time of the accident and it was the last thing he needed whilst he was fighting a terminal disease. He worked in the building trade for decades and was angry that the window pane had been left in such an unsafe manner. He wanted to sue the contractors as it was important to him to make sure that this type of accident didn’t happen to anyone else.”

Margaret Thomas from UNISON added: “Our legal service offers free support to the friends and family of UNISON members and we are glad we have been able to help this family during such a difficult time. Builders must make sure that they follow health and safety regulations whether they are working in a public place or a private home and in this case the window should have been removed from the property and disposed of safely to avoid it causing an accident.”

Caragh Hogan from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Mr Harding felt strongly that the builders responsible for his accident were accountable for their actions. He was injured when he was extremely ill and vulnerable. He should have been convalescing from his radium sessions, but instead he had to undergo surgery and then weeks of pain and additional discomfort from his injury. We hope these builders have learnt their lesson.”