A WOMAN who slipped on a pallet injuring her ankle at work has been awarded £30,000 in compensation.
Katrin Weiss was working as an operations manager for Rotherham-based window frame and door manufacturer Bereco Ltd at the time of the accident last year.
She had been asked to stay late to ensure a delivery was dispatched on time and to cover the role of a colleague, who was absent with an illness.
Her injury left her unable to work for more than a year and has still not healed despite physiotherapy and several painful operations.
The surgery has left Katrin, who lived in Intake, Sheffield, but now of Kirchheim, Germany, with a five-and-a-half inch scar on her ankle and a metal frame inside her foot which doctors say could lead to a degenerative form of arthritis in the future.
Before Katrin’s fall, several packed pallets for delivery had been loaded on to a lorry, but a few loose bundles of handles and frames remained.
To reach the final bags, Katrin had to climb over another pallet which was covered by a sheet of plywood, concealing the frame’s edges.
After collecting the remaining items, the 36-year-old began to climb down the pallet but slipped and fell, heavily twisting one ankle and tearing the ligaments in the other.
Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have now secured a £30,000 settlement for Katrin.
Katrin said: “I couldn’t see where the pallet actually ended, so when I stepped on the end of the plywood it just gave way and I crashed to the floor.
“The pain was absolutely excruciating. Thankfully the driver of the lorry heard me screaming and came to help before rushing me to the Northern General Hospital where I was told I’d torn the ligaments in my ankle and would need an operation.”
Surgeons fixed two screws into Katrin’s ankle, but the ligaments did not heal and two further operations were needed over the next 12 months in an attempt to mend the joint, eventually resulting in a metal ‘stabilising hook’ being inserted.
The operations meant Katrin could not get out and about on her own and relied on her partner, Michael, to help her with everything from washing, moving around her house and getting dressed.
Sally Rissbrook, of Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office, said: “Katrin was injured after having been asked to help out to cover someone else’s job she wasn’t trained for.
“She had never received any formal health and safety training or guidance about how to do the job safely and was not made aware of any risks related to the work besides a general ‘be careful’ from her health and safety officer.”