Compensation secured for member following partial amputation of finger tip

A worker who lost part of his finger tip in an accident at work has received compensation with the help of Unite Legal Services.

At the time of the accident, 59-year-old Alan Flowers had come into work early to set up a sling that would be used to lift a turbine for connection to an aeroplane engine.

While trying to move the turbine it slipped out of position in the sling and, in attempting to move it back into place, Alan’s left index finger was 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 to his finger was irreparable. Later that day he had part of the tip of his finger amputated.

Alan was off work for three months before making a phased return. When his finger nail started to grow back, he suffered pain and hypersensitivity and required two further rounds of surgery.

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

The turbines have since been redesigned so that the slings don’t slip.

Since the accident Alan has been made redundant from the company.

Alan contacted Unite Legal Services 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 compensation 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 safety procedures. Instead, the company’s attempt to cut corners resulted in our member suffering injury and financial losses.

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.”