A cleaner who fractured her foot when she slipped on debris from building works as she walked to work along an unlit pathway has received compensation after help from her trade union.

The RMT member from Pwllypant Caerphilly was walking to Arriva Trains’ Canton Depot where she was due to begin a night shift cleaning trains when she suddenly fell.

Lights, usually present on the walkway, had been disconnected for building works being carried out close by. Debris from the works’ site was scattered across the designated walkway but since it was dark she wasn’t able to see it.

She turned her ankle and fell to her knees, causing a stress fracture to her right foot.

Accident caused broken foot

Despite in a lot of pain, the cleaner of 11 years continued with her 12 hour shift by walking on her heel. Having finished work the pain became so bad she went to accident and emergency where she was told that she’d broken her foot.

She was put in plaster for 13 weeks and was unable to return to work for seven months due to the nature of the injury and concerns by medical professionals about the impact of her walking on ballast around the tracks.

She eventually returned to work part time for a period of weeks before finally returning to her regular role.

Following the accident she contacted the RMT which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that the path should have had adequate lighting and that the debris should have been removed to make the area safe. Arriva admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Thompsons obtained specialist medical advice

In addition to her compensation Thompsons arranged for the member to get specialist medical advice where she was provided with insoles which resulted in a dramatic reduction in the level of pain she experiences.

She said: “Even after I was back at work I was in a great deal of pain. As the weeks wore on I was having to take more and more painkillers to get through my shift. The insoles I was provided with have made a huge difference and over time the pain has gradually eased.”

Bob Crow from the RMT added: “This is a classic example of an employer failing to use common sense when there was an obvious health and safety hazard. Building works’ debris combined with an unlit recognised pathway was a recipe for disaster.”

Clare Nash from Thompsons Solicitors said: “This case shows not only how Thompsons can help union members to claim compensation but also how we can look at the circumstances and see that whatever is possible is done to ease the injured person's pain.”