An RMT member who suffered extensive injuries to his wrist after his employer exposed him to a risk they knew was dangerous has received a substantial sum in compensation.

In July 2005 Maurice Marshall, 51, from Newark in Nottinghamshire who was employed by Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd was standing at an authorised access point opposite the railway tracks. He had picked up a shovel when the 6.30am Derby to Barnsley train passed by. The shovel was caught by the train’s slip stream and his right hand was snapped back.

Mr Marshall suffered open fractures of the radius and ulna in his wrist which has resulted in lack of movement, grip and strength. He has had three operations and two skin grafts on his wrist following the accident.

He still works for Network Rail as a trackman but will be on light duties for the rest of his working life as he has limited movement in his wrist and cannot lift more than five kilos.

Pursue a claim for compensation

Network Rail track inspectors had already highlighted that the access point was dangerous and should be moved, but nothing had been done to warn employees.

Following the accident Mr Marshall contacted the RMT which instructed its lawyers Thompsons to pursue a claim for compensation.

Mr Marshall said: “My wrist was in a horrendous mess and I had to have three operations to fix it. It’s now as good as it’s going to get but I still don’t have full use of the hand. I can’t lift anything heavy and I’m on light duties.

“I can no longer take part in the hobbies I used to enjoy and I can’t play football with my grandchildren for fear that I will fall on my wrist.”

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

Inherently dangerous job

Bob Crow RMT general secretary said: “Track maintenance staff have an inherently dangerous job. That is why it is ludicrous to be threatening to get rid of 1,500 of these safety-critical staff. Safe access points are vital to ensure workers are kept safe from trains, which often pass at high speed.

“This access point had been assessed and recommendations made that it should be moved. Unbelievably Network Rail did not act immediately on those recommendations and Mr Marshall will live with the consequences of that failure for the rest of his life.”

Carol Wild from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Mr Marshall suffered a horrendous injury which has caused huge personal suffering for him and has implications on the type of work he is able to do and what he can do socially for the rest of his life. His employers knew there was a problem with the access point and yet they did nothing to make it safe.”