Unite Legal Services assists injured rail freight worker

A rail freight worker who was injured while conducting a night-time safety check on a Carlisle railway line has received compensation with help from Unite Legal Services.

51-year-old Stephen Adams, who worked for a rail freight operating company, was walking a rail route in the early hours of the morning when he tripped on a railway sleeper that had been left on the walkway. He fell heavily to the ground jarring his right shoulder, which required surgery. The impact of the fall resulted in a full thickness tear of the tendon in his shoulder and cracked his collar bone.

Instead of being placed in the storage area of the site, the railway sleeper had been left on the walkway causing a dangerous obstruction.

Stephen was unable to work for two weeks following his injury and could only undertake light duties for several months while he awaited surgery on his shoulder. He spent the next six months on sick leave recovering from the procedure, living on a reduced salary during that time.

Stephen contacted Unite Legal Services who were able to secure significant compensation on his behalf.

He said: “The outcome of my accident wasn’t just the physical pain and discomfort I suffered to my shoulder, but also the pressure it put on my family while I was unable to work. My wife had to take on the more physical tasks around the house that I would usually do.

“Since the accident, my employer has been more vigilant about safety procedures but it’s too late for me. I’ve been left with permanent damage to my shoulder due to a situation that could so very easily have been avoided.”

Mick Whitley, Unite regional secretary, said: “A safe means of access to a workplace is basic health and safety. In this case safety procedures had been neglected. There is no room for complacency when it comes to the wellbeing of staff, the employer’s duty of care is mandatory, not arbitrary.

“Accidents in the workplace such as this not only highlight the physical and permanent impact they have on the individual concerned, but the knock on effect it can have on other members of their family.”