A Nottingham school caretaker who was injured when he fell from a stepladder at work trying to repair a faulty window has been awarded £25,000 compensation for his injuries.

The victim, who was 64 at the time of the accident, had to take medical retirement after suffering tendon damage to his neck and left shoulder, meaning it is painful to work with his hands above head height.

He suffered the injuries while attempting to tighten a bolt on a window at the primary school he worked for in 2008. It had been painted over and snapped when he tried to turn it using a spanner. He fell from his stepladder, hitting his head and shoulder on a desk. In spite of physiotherapy treatment, he was never able to return to work.

Thompsons made claim for compensation

He contacted his trade union UNISON for advice which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation. Investigations revealed that no inspection and repair system was in place at the school to ensure that windows were safe and worked correctly.

Nottinghamshire County Council did not dispute liability for the accident but disputed the level of compensation to be paid and defended the case at court where a judge awarded the UNISON member over £25,000 in compensation.

The caretaker said: "I loved my job and had hoped to continue working beyond 65. I was devastated that I had to give it up.

"I'm grateful to UNISON and Thompsons for their support. I'd much rather have my health but this compensation will go some way towards making up for the dramatic change to my retirement plans."

Simple health and safety housekeeping avoids accidents

Helen Black From UNISON added: "This school has lost a loyal member of staff who was badly injured because an inspection programme had not been implemented. The government has redefined schools as ‘low-risk workplaces’ which sends completely the wrong message to those responsible for the health and safety of pupils and staff. The fact is, and this accident proves it, that schools can be as dangerous as any other workplace if systems of regular inspection and maintenance are not kept to.”

Katrina Rowan from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Simple health and safety housekeeping avoids accidents and costs very little. We are constantly told that health and safety is a burden, but where is the burden in making sure that buildings are safe? This case shows just how badly things can go wrong if employers cut corners – and how.”