A semi professional footballer has been forced to retire from the game after he was injured in a workplace accident.

Neil Yapp, 27, from St Albans in Hertfordshire seriously hurt his knee when he fell after a faulty stair gave way at Trinity Mirror Printing in Watford.

The accident left the former Milton Keynes City striker with a serious sprained knee and ankle. As a result he has had to give up playing football.

Neil was working as a printer at Trinity Mirror’s Watford site when the accident happened in April 2007. He was walking down a set of metal stairs from the top of a printing press when a stair broke and he fell to the lower level.

Trinity Mirror Watford is responsible for printing publications like the Daily Mirror, the Independent and the Racing Post.

Stairs hadn't been properly maintained

Neil contacted his union, Unite, following the accident because he was concerned the stairs hadn’t been properly maintained.

Unite instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation. Trinity Mirror accepted liability for the accident and settled the claim out of court for £9,500.

Neil, who is now self employed, said he still suffers from pain in his knee.

He said: “I was devastated when I was told I would have to give up football. I was having a successful career as a semi professional player and it was all destroyed because those stairs were not well maintained.

“My knees can be in a lot of pain. I know in my later life my knee will cause me even more problems.”

Avoiding falls should be major priority for employers

Steve Hart from Unite said: “Avoiding falls like this one should be a major priority for employers and their health and safety advisors.

“Those stairs should have been maintained regularly to ensure an accident like this never happened.”

Natalie Shelley at Thompsons Solicitors added: “Trinity Mirror failed to ensure adequate precautions were taken to avoid this accident. Mr Yapp has had to give up his career as a footballer.”