Lack of training caused member injury in fall from height

Unite Legal Services has secured compensation for a maintenance worker after he suffered a permanent injury to his ankle when he fell at work.

David Roberts, 66, was employed as a maintenance worker at a food manufacturer in south Wales, where he was responsible for repairs at the company premises.

He had been repairing a section of the roof and was dismantling a scaffold tower while passing parts of the scaffold to his colleagues below when he lost his balance and fell approximately 15 feet onto grass banking below.

David’s left ankle was broken from the impact of the fall and he was rushed to hospital, where he needed surgery to insert a metal plate into his ankle.

As a result of his injury, David had six months off work but even when he returned swelling to his ankle made physical labour very difficult. His injury also means that he has difficulty walking long distances due to pain in his ankle.

Prior to his accident, David had not received any scaffolding training from his employer. It was only after the incident that his colleagues were sent on a course to learn how to safely assemble and dismantle platforms.

David contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a compensation claim on his behalf.

David said: “I’ve been an active, manual worker for the majority of my life and now I am struggling to walk. I used to be a keen walker but now I can’t even do the shopping without being in lots of pain. Just before the fall I had started to renovate my home ahead of my retirement, needless to say that this hasn’t been completed because I’m so limited with what I can do now.

“I’ve been in and out of hospital since the fall, and although physiotherapy and injections have eased the pain my ankle still swells.”

Andrea Jones, regional officer from Unite the Union, said: “David was an experienced member of the team at the food manufacturer but everyone needs adequate training to do their job safely as well as effectively. David was keen to work past retirement age but his plans have been cut short due to his injury.

“Employers have a duty to ensure staff are trained to do the jobs they are tasked with. Had the company invested in training staff prior to the incident, it would have avoided a legal case and a loyal member of staff would still be working today rather than entering retirement with an injury limiting his day-to-day activities.”