A Unite member has received £16,000 compensation after suffering a deep laceration to his ring finger on his dominant hand during an accident at work.
60-year-old Kenneth Powell was operating a mechanical saw to cut blocks of paper in a Yorkshire factory. As he went to clear the excess dust away from the surface, the unguarded blade cut into his right finger.
Following the incident, Kenneth was examined by a first aider at work before being transferred to hospital where it was found that he had damaged a tendon. He was off work for two weeks, and nearly three years on he continues to suffer numbness in his thumb, especially in cold weather.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the scene of the accident and issued a notice to his employer for its failure to ensure the machine had a safety guard.
Kenneth, a lifelong union member, contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a compensation claim on his behalf.
Kenneth said: “I had worked with these machines for years so I knew to wait until I’d switched the power off before putting my hand near the blade. Despite waiting, it continued to spin.
“It’s very frustrating to think that this whole incident could have been avoided if my employer had installed a safety guard around the blade. I’m grateful for the support provided by Unite Legal Services.”
Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “Our member was performing a routine task at work, but without a safety guard around the blade he was always at risk of injury, it was effectively a trap. This injury could have been prevented had the employer taken basic health and safety steps.
“Thankfully, his membership of Unite meant that he was entitled to free, expert legal representation, which saw him receive full compensation for his injury with no deduction for legal costs.”