Outside working often brings additional dangers for employees, and this was particularly the situation concerning a rail worker, in this week’s Case of the Week.

Our client worked for Network Rail and was instructed to pilot a line notorious for heavy coastal winds, rain and sea water.

On the day of our client’s accident gales were blowing and as he alighted from the train without a platform – something which we said was objectively dangerous given the poor conditions - he fractured a wrist.

Network Rail denied responsibility for the accident, and even tried to call our client’s credibility into question. At trial the Judge found our client credible, and the employer responsible for the injuries sustained. The Judge agreed that requiring employees to alight from trains without a platform when weather conditions were so bad, and known to be so, was dangerous; a simple solution would have been to alight at a later or earlier point where there was a platform, but the employer had not applied its mind to such an option.

Robert Lawton, the Solicitor who progressed the case to Court, commented: “Our client had no option but to alight the train as he did. His employer knew of the dangers involved yet chose to shut its eyes to them. Even then, faced with the injuries our client sustained, the employer sought to wash its hands of him. This was shameful but fortunately our client turned to his trade union for support, and in turn to us. I hope this case acts as a wake-up call to this particular employer to adopt a culture where safety is put first”.