Unite the Union member has secured £3,500 after an exposed drain cover at the bus depot he worked at in Gloucestershire caused him to take a heavy fall.

The man was walking towards a double-decker bus at the depot in order to clean it when he tripped on a drain cover protruding an inch above the floor, falling heavily onto his left hand side and fracturing ribs.

Potential for an accident ignored by employer

The day after the incident the member observed that a mat had been placed over the raised drain cover to prevent further accidents. The injury kept the 55 year old from working for four weeks, during which time he was heavily reliant on others to help him. At a welfare meeting on his return to work he was told by his employers that it was known that the drain cover was an issue prior to the accident but that they “just hadn’t got round to fixing” it.

The member’s UNITE representative encouraged him to pursue legal action with Unite Legal Services after union investigations found that the drain cover was not fit for purpose, being unsuited to heavy vehicles driving over it and more typical of those one might see in pedestrianised areas. They were eventually replaced with more suitable covers.

Not about money but the principle of justice

Speaking about his experience, the Unite the Union member explained: “It was not about the value of the compensation, it was the principle. My daughter ended up having to look after me, assisting with my errands. Even now I still feel the odd twinge in my ribs. Luckily for me, UNITE and Thompsons Solicitors were very helpful indeed.”

An accident that should never have happened

Trevor Hall, Unite the Union regional officer for Gloucester, commented: “Time and again employers’ fail to take even basic steps to ensure a safe working environment and the result is unnecessary accidents and legal action which all parties would rather not happen. The fact that our member’s employers knew about this problem before his accident makes their inaction all the more inexcusable. We would like to thank Thompsons Solicitors for helping Unite to bring this case to a positive conclusion for our member.”