Unite the Union has called on employers to deliver a workplace free from avoidable hazards after a member received £30,000 in damages following a slip at an industrial lubricant manufacturer.

Russell Scragg, 59, from Leek in Staffordshire, slipped on a step at Fuchs Lubricants in Stoke on Trent where he had worked in a skilled role as a blender for 10 years. The floor had not been treated with anti-slip covering despite the nature of the factory’s work.

The Unite member hit his left knee as he fell causing pre-existing osteoarthritis to worsen in both knees 10 years early.

Mr Scragg still suffers pain in both knees almost three years after the accident, causing them to swell if he stands for long periods of time. He has been moved off his job as a blender and is instead working in the packing department which has meant a pay cut.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following the accident Mr Scragg contacted Unite which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

It quickly became clear to Thompsons that the wrong type of floor covering was used in the area where Mr Scragg fell.

Fuchs Lubricants admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Anti-slip flooring was needed

Mr Scragg said: “I had always had some slight problems with my left knee but after the accident both my knees caused me significant problems. I was having to take time off work because I could barely walk at times.

“If I hadn’t suffered this accident doctors have said that my osteoarthritis wouldn’t have worsened for another 10 years. Enduring pain and earning less for 10 years is a long time when you are working towards your retirement.”

Neil Slater from Unite the Union added: “This factory specialises in making lubricants and its not unreasonable to expect that its floors would be covered with anti-slip flooring. As a result of failing to avoid the most basic of hazards Mr Scragg has been moved from a highly skilled, well paid job, to a lesser role with a reduced wage packet.”

Deborah Roberts from Thompsons Solicitors said: “There were several basic steps that Fuchs Lubricants could have taken to avoid this accident. For a lubricant manufacturer anti-slip flooring is pretty obvious."