A Unite member has received more than £500,000 in compensation thanks to Unite Legal Services, after an accident at work left caused a severe facial fracture and ended his career.
At the time of the accident, the member was attempting to join two pieces of steel together when the hydraulic jack he was using to hold the metal in place gave way and struck him in the face.
The force of the impact to the member’s face shattered his left eye socket and severed the nerves in his left cheek.
Since his accident he has undergone five operations to rebuild his shattered eye socket. He has also had spinal cord stimulation surgery and deep brain stimulation surgery in an attempt to control the pain in his face.
The member’s injuries mean that he cannot leave his home without wearing a bespoke prosthetic mask to protect the left side of his face from the elements.
The operations undergone to control the pain had subsequently failed.
The member said: “I will be in pain for the rest of my life. I don’t do anything like I used to. My family life has been ruined - I can’t leave my house without a prosthetic mask to help protect my face.
“They never established exactly what was wrong with the jack, but the fact is that it wasn’t safe work equipment. I was a healthy and active man before my accident, and in a split second my freedom and independence were taken away from me.”
Unite Legal Services investigated a claim on its members behalf. Mick Whitley, Unite regional secretary, said: “This case shows how important it is for employers to provide safe work equipment and a safe system of work.
“No amount of compensation can make up for such a serious injury, but with Unite Legal Services' support, our member has had the best lawyers who got him interim payments, specialist therapies - including psychological, speech and language therapy - and equipment that has helped with his rehabilitation.”