Sleeping policeman error a £5,800 wakeup call for Royal Mail after CWU member's ankle injury


Ankle InjuryA Sussex postal worker who was injured when he stumbled on his depot's cluttered speed bump has been awarded £5,800 damages from Royal Mail.

On 21 February 2012 our client was reversing his postal van towards a 'sleeping policeman' speed restrictor, a spot at Crawley Mail Centre where he normally parked to get on with his job.

His normal practice, once his rear wheels contact the speed bump, is to kill the engine and start unloading by stepping between his vehicle and the yard floor.

However, on this occasion he was obstructed by equipment which had been left in his usual place. With waste skips and York containers propped against the speed bump, he was unable fully to reverse his vehicle.

Time was pressing and he needed to unload. But as he alighted from the van, he stepped onto the edge of the speed bump, falling and damaging his ankle.

He sustained ligament damage and a fracture to his right foot, which kept him on crutches and off work for 6 weeks.

On the CWU's instruction, we initiated a claim for compensation against Royal Mail as occupiers of the depot.

Among 7 counts, we alleged fault on the basis that the defendant had failed in its duty of care to our client under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, in that the yard was unsupervised and was not kept free of obstruction. The speed bump had become a hazard, as demonstrated when our client stepped from his vehicle and stumbled.

Overall, Royal Mail had failed to devise, implement or enforce an adequate system of working, therefore failing to take any reasonable care for the safety of Mr Fairbrother.

Liability was agreed on an 85/15 basis in our client's favour and he was awarded £5,800 compensation.

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