A customer care officer working for Jobcentre Plus, part of the Department of Work and Pensions, has been awarded damages after an accident at work. John Burdett, 64, of Longford, Coventry, brought the claim through his union, PCS, and with the assistance of Thompsons Solicitors, after he was left with fractured ribs and other injuries to his neck, shoulders and arms.

The accident happened on the 30th June 2005, following some building renovation work the night before. Upon opening the office in the morning, Mr Burdett had been walking through the building when his foot became entangled in computer wires trailing from a desk onto the floor. He fell heavily onto the corner of a desk and as a consequence sustained the injuries.

Following photographic evidence, Mr Burdett's employer admitted liability for the accident and agreed to pay compensation. Mr Burdett's legal team at Thompsons also sought medical evidence to prove that his injuries were serious.

Commenting, Mr Burdett, himself a PCS union representative, said: "You hear of people having nasty accidents at work, but you don't expect to sustain such injuries in the relative calm and quiet of an office. My employer admitted liability so it was simply a case of agreeing a reasonable level of compensation, which Thompsons has swiftly managed to do on my behalf. I'm grateful to the union for supporting my case."

Health and Safety at Work

Phil Madelin, PCS Health and Safety Officer, said: "Health and safety these days is often ridiculed as going too far - and trip and slip incidents as being more laughable than serious. But this case proves that they can result in serious injuries. It also shows that employers need to pay attention to all aspects of health and safety - and highlights the valuable support that unions offer to their members."

Mr Burdett's personal injury lawyer, Warinder Juss, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: "This case highlights the fact that any working environment can be a danger if proper care isn't taken to protect employees."