Yorkshire Water Ltd has agreed to compensate a former employee for causing him injuries that forced him out of his job of nearly 30 years.

The former employee, aged 60, sustained serious neck, back and shoulder injuries in December 2007 when his work vehicle hit a series of potholes that he and his workmates had repeatedly asked management to fix.

At the time of the accident he was driving his work vehicle along the heavily potholed track leading to the Bolsover Sewage Treatment Works.

Injury caused by pothole

When he hit one particularly deep pothole his entire body jolted and he realised his back had been injured. Over the next few days the pain spread through his neck and shoulders.

He attempted to carry on with his job after the accident, but the pain became unmanageable and was a key reason behind his decision to take voluntary redundancy.

Following the accident he sought advice from his union, the GMB, which instructed personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim.

Employer agreed to pay compensation

Thompsons argued Yorkshire Water Ltd should have repaired the potholes as they were responsible for the maintenance of the road and it was a health and safety hazard. Thompsons also noted that employees had previously raised the issue with the company. Yorkshire Water admitted liability and agreed to a compensation settlement.

The GMB member says the accident should never have happened.

“My colleagues and I had complained to our manager about the state of the track months before the accident. We asked him to either fill in the holes or get some contractors to do it. We even offered to do it ourselves, but nothing ever happened.”

Employers owe a duty of care to their employees

Jeremy Hague from Thompsons Solicitors says the case shows how important it is for employers to take their duties to their employees seriously.

“Employers owe a duty of care to their employees both in the workplace and on company-managed access routes. The employer should have fixed the track at the time concerns were raised, it’s not good enough to wait around until someone gets injured.”

Tim Roache, GMB Yorkshire Regional Secretary, says the GMB is proud to support members in their fight for fair compensation.

“Yorkshire Water was warned repeatedly by its employees that the track was a health and safety risk but the company did nothing. This kind of negligence is inexcusable and it’s only fair our member has been compensated.”