MEL Health and Safety Consultants

Labourer Suffers Leg Amputation

Ladder Fall for Lone Worker Results in Serious Injury  

A man who had to have his leg amputated below the knee after breaking his ankle at work has received a substantial sum in compensation.


In September 2005, Mr. William Edge, 64, from Plymouth, was working as a labourer for a Plymouth-based building firm. His job involved locking up a construction site on Elliott Street, Plymouth, at the end of the working day. This included a basement area which was accessed by a ladder fixed to a crane base, exposed to the elements and in a pool of deep water.


Mr. Edge was often alone on the site when locking up. According to the lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors, he had on several occasions asked that he be accompanied or at least provided with a two-way radio, but this was not done.


On the day of the incident, Mr. Edge lost his grip on the wet and slippery ladder and fell onto the concrete below. He broke his right ankle and was forced to shout for help for around 20 minutes before he was heard by a passer-by. He had eight operations on his ankle to fix the break but in January 2007, the decision was made to amputate his leg below the knee.


His employer admitted liability after Mr. Edge’s union Unite instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue compensation for his injury. He received the undisclosed sum of compensation in an out-of-court settlement.


Following the settlement, James Davies from Thompsons Solicitors said, “Employers must be aware that cutting corners on health and safety can lead to life changing consequences for their employees”.