A waste disposal operative who lost all four fingers and the thumb from one hand in a horrendous workplace accident has been awarded a six-figure sum in compensation.
The man, 49, was cleaning a machine used to separate waste when the accident happened. He was not aware that the machine was still running because the room was noisy and dark. He reached in through an open hatch and his hand was crushed between the machine’s rollers.
The roller removed four of his fingers and stripped away the skin from his hand. He underwent 14 operations and had to have his thumb amputated. The accident has had a devastating effect on the man’s life and he is now registered disabled and wears a prosthetic limb.
After bringing the case against his employers, they admitted liability and settled the case without going to court.
The company was also fined £50,000 by the Health and Safety Executive because of the dangerous working environment. Since the accident, the company has installed extra lighting and skylights as well as a system that allows the waste machine to be operated manually during cleaning.
Employers have a duty to put in place adequate health and safety procedures to reduce the risks of accidents occurring. If they fail in this duty, employees who have been injured as a result may be entitled to compensation. In this case, the accident could easily have been prevented had the proper safeguards been in place at the time.