Engineer receives £200,000 after losing fingers in accident at work

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Engineer receives £200,000 after losing fingers in accident at work

1st May 2012

A Suffolk man who lost part of his fingers when his hand was sucked into a rotating metal blade at work has received £200,000 in an out of court settlement.

Nick Godwin, a specialist serious injury lawyer at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the man in his thirties had been working as a service engineer at the time, which involved repairing and servicing industrial plant diesel engines.

“On the day of his accident, my client was servicing a diesel generator at a farm in Kent,” said Nick, a partner with the firm. “As he was testing the generator he noticed a wire-meshed guard - fitted specifically to protect the operator from a fast-rotating metal fan - was visibly vibrating.

“When he placed his right hand on the guard to check the vibration, the power from the fan sucked his hand inwards, pulling his fingers through the gaps in the safety guard and severing the tops of three of his fingers about halfway between the two knuckles,” added Nick.

The married father-of-two was taken by ambulance to hospital where doctors managed to reattach his middle finger but were unable to save his index and ring fingers, both of which were amputated the following day.

The Health and Safety Executive was highly critical of the farm on which the incident occurred and opened an immediate investigation, placing a 21-day prohibition notice on the generators there. The generator which injured the claimant subsequently failed various safety requirements and its guard was found to be completely inadequate.

“It later transpired that the gaps between the mesh of the guard were much larger then they should have been, and the guard was far too close to the fan to prevent the fingers of anyone operating the generator from being sucked through into the rotating blades,” said Nick. “Had the correct guard been in place my client’s accident would have been avoided entirely.”

Nick said his client still had residual pain in his middle finger and the joints in his hand were stiff and sensitive to the cold whenever he worked outdoors. “My client has lost a lot of sensation in his fingers and his grip strength has been significantly reduced,” said Nick. “He remains devastated about the loss of his fingers and extremely self-conscious about the disfigured appearance of his hand.

“He has had extensive hand therapy since losing his fingers and although he has managed to adapt to everyday living to an extent, he struggles with certain tasks such as buttoning up his shirt,” added Nick. “As a consequence of his injury, he is no longer able to return to his previous job and although he remains unemployed at present, he is currently retraining with a view to setting up his own business.”

Although both the man’s employer and the insurers of the farm inexplicably denied liability, they made an offer of £200,000 to settle the claim, which the client accepted.

How can Fentons help?

Fentons Solicitors is experienced in handling claims relating to all types of serious injury and has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of accidents in the workplace.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire