Man wins damages after losing fingertip at work

Thompsons SolicitorsA man who lost part of his finger in an accident at work has received damages with the help of Thompsons Solicitors and Unite Legal Services.

At the time of the accident, 59-year-old Alan Flowers had come into work early and set up a sling that would be used during his shift to lift a turbine from its stand, prior to its being connected to an aeroplane engine.

While trying to move the turbine it slipped out of its position in the sling and, in attempting to move it back into place, Alan’s left index finger got trapped and crushed between the turbine and the sling.

Alan’s colleagues quickly called an ambulance but while he was on his way to hospital the paramedics told him that the damage caused to his finger was irreparable. Later that day he had the tip of his finger amputated.

Alan was off work for three months before making a phased return. When his nail started to grow back, he suffered from pain and hypersensitivity and had to have another two rounds of surgery to deal with that.

Only after the accident was Alan told that he should have been provided gloves while he was working with the turbines. He was also unaware that getting the turbine into a sling should have been carried out by two people.

The turbines have since been redesigned so that the slings don’t slip, but Alan has been made redundant from the company.

Alan contacted Unite Legal Services and instructed accident at work specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate a compensation claim.

Alan said: “We’d been running late on this particular engine build so I decided to head into work early to get everything ready to go. My colleagues and I had set up turbines numerous times before and no one had ever said we needed to wear gloves or have two people on the job.

“The slings were always a pain, and turbines slipping in them wasn’t uncommon, so I’m glad that they’ve been adapted and are safer to use so that someone else doesn’t have an accident like mine. The settlement has been a great help, but if my employer had given me proper training in the first place, this whole ordeal could have been avoided.”

Peter Coulson, regional officer at Unite the Union, said: “At the time of the accident, Alan had been working at this employer for more than three years, which is more than enough time to train him on its safety procedures. Instead, the company’s attempt to cut corners has resulted in lengthy court proceedings, financial losses and a member of staff suffering an amputation injury.

“One of the benefits of Alan’s Unite membership is that Unite Legal Services backed court proceedings against the employer and helped him bring a successful claim for compensation which he received in full without having to pay any deductions for legal costs.”

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