A Nottingham school caretaker who was injured when he fell from a stepladder at work while trying to repair a faulty window had to take medical retirement as a result. The unnamed UNISON member, who was 64 when the incident occurred in 2008, suffering tendon damage to his neck and left shoulder, making it painful to work with his hands above head height. He was attempting to tighten a bolt on a primary school window, but it had been painted over and snapped when he tried to turn it using a spanner. He fell from his stepladder, hitting his head and shoulder on a desk. He underwent physiotherapy, but was never able to return to work. Faced with a union-backed compensation claim, Nottinghamshire County Council did not dispute liability but disputed the level of compensation to be paid. The case went to court, where the judge awarded the UNISON member over £25,000 in compensation. UNISON's Helen Black commented: 'The government has redefined schools as 'low-risk workplaces' which sends completely the wrong message to those responsible for the health and safety of pupils and staff. The fact is, and this accident proves it, that schools can be as dangerous as any other workplace if systems of regular inspection and maintenance are not kept to.' Katrina Rowan from Thompsons Solicitors, the law firm brought in by the union to act in the case, said: 'Simple health and safety housekeeping avoids accidents and costs very little. We are constantly told that health and safety is a burden, but where is the burden in making sure that buildings are safe? This case shows just how badly things can go wrong if employers cut corners - and how.'
Briefing document (300 words) issued 6 Jul 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-21185-f0.cfm
printed 19 June 2013 at 15:05 hrs by 220.127.116.11