Accident at work causes Unite member to suffer hand injury

A Unite member from Hinckley has received more than £21,000 in compensation after his thumb was lacerated by a piece of sharp metal.

The 27-year-old was operating a machine used to cut sections of metal when he noticed that debris, known as swarf, had clogged up on a conveyor belt. To dislodge it, he put on a pair of thin gloves provided by his employer and used his hands to clear the swarf, as shown by his manager.

As he did this, a piece of swarf wrapped around his hand and ripped through the glove, causing a deep cut to his right thumb damaging tendons and nerves.

The member needed six weeks off work following surgery to help repair his thumb and, despite the accident occurring more than three years ago, he still suffers with pain.

His employer has since provided workers with thicker Kevlar gloves and a hooked pole to use when removing build-up of swarf.

Following the accident, the member contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a claim for compensation on his behalf.

He said: “The work should have been simple but we often had trouble with excess swarf getting stuck in the machine. The way we were told to sort the problem was by wearing a thin pair of gloves and use our hands to remove debris. We were never shown how to do it safely.

“When the accident happened, I was really frightened because I was bleeding heavily. Years later it still affects my day-to-day life; I find myself having to wear gloves whenever I work with my hands and I hate the fact that I can’t ride my motorbike because of my poor grip.

“I took the accident to prompt my employer to make changes, but with the safer procedures now in place, hopefully this won’t happen again.”

Kevin Hepworth, East Midlands regional legal officer at Unite the Union, said: “If the employer had only taken five minutes to think the job through it would have avoided our member suffering a huge amount of pain and being unable to carry out tasks and hobbies that he was previously capable of.

“By contacting Unite Legal Services the member has benefited from free, specialist legal support and obtained 100% compensation for his injuries and financial losses.”