Rail worker compensated for hand injury

A Nottinghamshire man who suffered an injury to his left hand while working on railway repairs has been compensated £15,000 with the backing of Unite Legal Services.

65-year-old Trevor Allen was attempting to use a planing machine, which is used to shape a rail track, when the accident occurred.

The weight of the rail was too heavy for him to place safely onto the machine, so he was using a strap to help position it and a clip to hold it in place once the strap was removed.

However, as he placed his hand under the rail to remove the strap the clip slipped, causing the rail to tilt and hit Trevor’s left hand.

Trevor was taken to hospital with cuts to his fingers, but there it was also found that he had suffered a fracture to his hand which needed surgery. The injury meant he had to have more than three months off work and he continues to suffer pain in his hand even though he retired 18 months ago.

Trevor contacted Unite Legal Services to investigate a claim for compensation.

He said: “I’d worked on the railways for almost 50 years and the job that I was doing was a routine task, so I knew what I was doing but the equipment I had wasn’t up to the job. As soon as I saw the clip slip out I tried to move my hand, but the rail fell too quickly and my hand got caught. The pain was agonising.

“Even when I was cleared to return to work, I wasn’t able to go at the pace I could before. My job was manual, so almost everything involved my hands. Given they weren’t right then, and still aren’t now, meant I was always in discomfort.

“I’m so glad I decided to contact my union; I was given invaluable help and real legal expertise. My hand continues to cause me issues, which is upsetting but the compensation will help pay for any treatments I might need going forward.”

Kevin Hepworth, Unite East Midlands legal officer, said: “Trevor was an experienced member of staff who had worked on the railway from a very young age, so it’s hugely disappointing that the final years of his career were blighted by an avoidable injury. When working with heavy objects, employees should be provided with adequate equipment to make sure they’re protected from harm, but clearly in this instance that wasn’t the case.

“As a member of the union, Trevor was fully covered for us to step in and fight for him to be properly compensated.”