A railway worker who had complained to bosses about poor lighting in the yard and then subsequently hurt his wrist and knee when he tripped on discarded rails at night has received compensation for his injuries.

The Ipswich man had warned his bosses that the poor lighting at the depot was an accident waiting to happen.

The employee was a health and safety representative for the company at the time of the accident but his repeated concerns were ignored. Just a few weeks later he was walking across the yard to drive a train when he tripped on some discarded rails.

Investigations showed that whilst there were light towers in the yard, only one set was working. Additionally the rails shouldn’t have been left where they were a potential hazard.

Injured wrist and knee

The railway worker of almost 30 years, suffered a soft tissue injury to his left wrist and a sprained knee. He had to take time off work as a result of his injuries.

After the accident he contacted his trade union, ASLEF, because he wanted to see the health and safety hazard addressed.

ASLEF instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation and the employer admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for £4,900.

The member said: “As health and safety representative I took my job seriously. I could see that the lack of lighting was a hazard but my concerns were just ignored. It’s ironic that in the end I was the one who ended up injured but I feel strongly that it should never have got to the point that I had to take legal action to see things improved.”

Good quality lighting is an obvious priority in a workplace

Mick Whelan ASLEF general secretary added: “It is extremely disappointing that this employer appointed a health and safety representative but then failed to listen to his advice. Good quality lighting is an obvious priority in a workplace where activity is being carried out at night, particularly when it is an industrial environment like the railways where there is very real potential for a serious accident.”

Samantha Vallis from Thompsons Solicitors in Chelmsford said: “Our client was right to raise his concerns about the lighting in his workplace but instead of being commended for his pro-activity and seeing his concerns addressed his employers ignored him and he became the victim.

“Health and safety rules are largely common sense but as this case shows when businesses fail to use their heads avoidable accidents follow.”