A UNITE member who was off work for more than two years after breaking his heel has received £120,000 compensation.

The 60-year-old from Gateshead who does not wish to be named broke his heel when he slipped on a ladder attached to his van while he was working in February 2007.

He was using the ladder to access the van’s roof rack as part of his work for the Newcastle-based company, but the rainy conditions had made it slippery. His fall left him in a plaster cast for four months.

Arthritis developed due to injury

He is currently unable to work due to arthritis caused by the injury but hopes he will be able to return to a different job with the firm in the future.

He said: “It is difficult to believe such a simple accident can leave me so badly injured. I have been off work for two years now and I can only walk with pain. My heel has healed well but I’ve now developed arthritis which means I am in constant agony.”

He added: “I felt I should claim compensation because I have been forced to take such a long time off work and it is still uncertain that I will be able to return in the future.”

Following the accident he contacted his union Unite which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for accident compensation.

Employer failed to provide safe equipment

The company admitted liability. They failed to provide safe access to their van roofs in wet weather and settled the claim out of court.

Unite official said: “Employers have a duty of care to ensure their employees are safe in the workplace in all conditions. If the ladder had been fitted with anti slip runs then this accident may have been avoidable.”

Angela Collins from Thompsons Solicitors added: “This workplace accident has had a profound effect on this client’s life. He has been unable to return to work, all because his employer was negligent by failing to provide safe equipment.

“More care and attention should have been given to the safety of employees.”