An RMT member who was medically retired after 33 years working on the railways after rupturing his left quadriceps tendon in a workplace accident has received £130,000 incompensation.

The 52-year-old from Crewe in Cheshire needed surgery on his left knee following the accident on the 27th November 2007.

His injury is so bad he will never work on the railways again. He is retraining in the hope of finding an office-based job.

He was injured as he was walking to a signal post telephone (SPT) on the railway lines at Kettering Train Station as part of his job as a TS5 production supervisor for English, Welsh and Scottish Railways Limited.

Slipped and fell at work

A ramp leading from the station platform did not go to ground level and a railway sleeper had been put up against it and a piece of plywood laid across the walkway to the SPT, neither had anti-slip protection and were extremely slippery.

Additionally it was dark and as he stepped on the wood he slipped causing him to fall striking his left knee.

He spent the next three days in hospital and required surgery on his knee, where three anchors were screwed in to his knee cap so that the tendon could be repaired.

He had to take six months off work before returning for nine months on light duties. But his knee gave way causing him to slip again and he was off for a further five and a half months until he was medically retired in August 2009.

Thompsons made claim for compensation

Following the accident he contacted his trade union, the RMT, which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons found that the sleeper and the plywood were put there by contractors for Network Rail Infrastructures. Network Rail should have removed the hazard and made sure the walkway to the SPT was clear.

Network Rail admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

One slip ended career

The RMT member said: “I’ve worked on the railways most of my life and I miss my job. I’m injured for life now and I’m restricted in the type of jobs I can apply for as I can only do sedentary work. It really gets me down because I enjoyed my job and the people I worked with.

“On the night of the accident I didn’t stand a chance. It was dark and I had no idea that the sleeper or the plywood was there. One slip was all it took to wreck my railway career.

“I’m determined to get back to some type of work eventually. I’m undertaking a training course and hope that it will lead to an office-based job in the end.

“I would like to thank all the parties involved from the time I had my accident for their care and understanding but especially The RMT, Thompsons Solicitors and EWS / D B Shenker.

“I am grateful for the compensation I received as it will take care of my family and me, but it cannot replace my knee or take away the 24 hours a day of pain. I would rather have my life back the way it was before my accident, but this is not possible.”

Pathways should be kept clear of obstructions

Bob Crow, general secretary at the RMT added: “Staff working on the railway need to be confident that they can go about their jobs safely. It is clear from this member’s experience that more work needs to be done to ensure that even the simplest health and safety procedures are being followed to avoid accidents like this one.”

Kevin Hughes from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Network Rail was negligent in allowing this hazard to be left on an access walkway to the railway. Signal post telephones need to be accessed day and night and as a result it is common sense that the pathways to them are kept clear of obstructions.”