Slipped on a wet floor at work

A nurse who needs risky surgery on her spine after she slipped on a wet floor at work has received £17,500 in compensation after help from her trade union.

The Unite member from South East London has been told she will need an operation on her back after she fell heavily as she arrived in the building where she was working.

The Specialist Nurse had just entered the building when she slipped on a wet floor where water had gathered in the reception area. It’s unknown how the water got there but it was raining outside on the morning of the accident.

She suffered injuries to her ankle and lower back and initially needed to take two weeks off work. However six weeks later she began to suffer pins and needles in her left leg and found it difficult to move it. She needed to take a further three weeks off work.

Diagnosed with displaced disc

She was diagnosed with a displaced disc that is pressing on the nerve and she can no longer sit or stand for long periods of time and she cannot drive long distances.

Doctors have said that she needs surgery but there is a 50% chance of serious complications arising from it.

Following the accident she was advised by a work colleague to claim compensation to recover the costs of seeing a private medical consultant. She contacted Unite which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that the reception area should have been kept dry to avoid this type of accident from happening.

The employing authority one of the NHS Trusts in London admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

The most common cause of falls at work is spillages

The member said: “I am concerned about how I will cope with my back in the long term. At the moment I manage it by taking painkillers but I have been told that it can only get worse. I’m trying to put off having surgery until I feel that I can no longer manage the pain. I know even if I do have an operation I may end up worse than I am at the moment.

“I have no idea how the floor became wet. It was a rainy day and perhaps it came from someone’s umbrella. Whatever the cause it should have been mopped up straight away to avoid something like this from happening.”

Peter Kavanagh, acting regional secretary at Unite said: “Our member has been left in a great deal of discomfort as a result of this accident which was foreseeable and avoidable. The most common cause of falls at work is spillages but they can easily be avoided with the correct health and safety strategy in place.”

Robert Lemon from Thompsons Solicitors said: “This was an accident waiting to happen and anyone using that reception area could have been a victim. It is the Trust’s responsibility to make sure that warning signs are put up when thoroughfares get wet and that surfaces are dried off.

“On a rainy day, like the day of this accident, it should have been obvious that measures needed to be taken to avoid a fall.”