UNISON and Thompsons Solicitors have helped a former chef, who seriously injured her knee and hip when she tripped on loose flooring at work, to secure £16,250 in compensation.

Yvonne Rupp, 62, was working for Avalon Nursing Home in Poole when she tripped on loose flooring in the kitchen and fell heavily on her knee. In the fall she cut her hands, injured her back, tore the meniscus in her knee and exacerbated an existing hip injury.

The loose flooring had been reported to her employers on a number of occasions before the accident but they made no attempt to fix the hazard.

Following her accident, Yvonne suffered severe pain in her knee and couldn’t put weight on her left leg. She went on to have extensive physiotherapy and hydrotherapy but her injury didn’t heal, and even after surgery to repair the damage to her knee she still hasn’t made a full recovery.

Yvonne suffers from chronic pain and restricted mobility, and though she briefly returned to work, she has since been forced to retire because of her injury.

After the accident, Yvonne contacted her trade union, UNISON, who instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons claimed that Avalon Nursing Home had failed to provide a safe workplace, neglecting their responsibility to fix the loose flooring despite the issue being reported to them on several occasions.

Yvonne said: “This was an accident waiting to happen. My employers ignored a reported hazard – health and safety problems don’t just resolve themselves and now I’m permanently injured.

“On bad days my hip and knee are very painful. My mobility is much worse, and what upsets me even more is that I’ve had to give up my job.”

Joanne Kaye, UNISON regional secretary in the south-west, said: “It would have been easy for Yvonne’s employers to address her complaints about the loose flooring in the kitchen.

“If Avalon Nursing Home had taken basic steps to ensure a safe place of work for Yvonne, the accident would simply never have happened.”

Sarah Dowell, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Maintaining safe flooring is one of the most basic health and safety requirements. Not only did Yvonne’s employers fail in this, but when Yvonne raised complaints about the loose flooring she was ignored.

“By law, employers must take steps to protect employees. I’m sure it’s been much more costly for Avalon Nursing Home to process this legal claim than it would have been to repair the floor in the first place.”