Employers are being urged by UNISON to clean up their acts after a labourer was awarded thousands of pounds for injuries sustained during a fall.

Gary Harper, who worked for Quadron Services in Leicester, was forced to take a year off work after tearing cartilage in his knee.

The 41-year-old, from Hinckley in Leicestershire, had tripped over a piece of timber that had not been cleared away while collecting cement from a warehouse in 2005.

He has returned to work as a HGV driver, but will suffer long-term knee pain.

Compensation for injuries

UNISON helped Mr Harper receive £12,000 compensation for his injuries.

Mr Harper said: “My employers had been warned time and again about the risks of this type of accident, but they did nothing to make sure our working environment was as safe as it could be.

“It was a silly accident, but I ended up with intensive surgery, in a lot of pain and off work for a year.

“Thankfully, now my knee is almost as good as new, however it can still be excruciatingly painful.”

Dangers of messy working environment

Hope Daley, Health and Safety Officer for UNISON, said: “Employers must be aware of the dangers of a messy environment.

“Procedures like risk assessment may seem tedious, but they prevent accidents like this from happening.

“In busy workplaces like building sites there should be thorough training to ensure that staff understand the importance of keeping the workplace tidy.

“The money cannot make up for the unnecessary pain suffered by Mr Harper.”

Importance of Risk Assessments and Health and Safety Training

Nicola Harrison, from Thompsons Solicitors, said: “This claim shows the importance of risk assessments and making sure staff are fully trained in health and safety.

“An accident that could easily have been avoided has led to a painful injury and has wasted both time and money.”