A Devon-based Unite member who was left burnt and traumatised by a silo explosion at work has secured a five-figure settlement.

Terry Wyatt, 57, was employed by wood manufacturer Norbord Ltd, where he worked for the company’s fire control team. When he was told about a fire in a dust silo, the silo’s door was opened and Terry got a firehose ready to dowse the flames. The fire exploded out of the door and hit him, and it was so hot that his helmet melted on his head.

“Smoke was already billowing out of the silo when I was asked to put out the fire, so I have no idea how long it had been going on for,” he said. “I was left in a dangerous situation.”

Colleagues rushed him to a nearby shower unit to cool him down and a paramedic assessed him before he went to hospital. He was discharged later that day, but needed daily visits from his ex-wife, who is a nurse, for the first fortnight to help apply burn cream. As the burns began to heal, he was able to do this himself, but was unable to return to work for six months.

Terry has suffered from episodes of depression since the incident, needing psychological treatment.

Terry contacted Unite Legal Services and instructed Thompsons Solicitors to make a compensation claim.

He added: “The last four years have been so tough for me and my family. I had to travel to Bristol every week to see a counsellor so I could try to cope.

“Thanks to Unite Legal Services and Thompsons Solicitors I was vindicated of what happened to me.”

Stuart Davies, Unite Regional Legal Officer in the South West, said: “I cannot imagine how frightening this incident must have been for Terry and his family. The fire had been allowed to develop to a point that it was a danger to those nearby, and Terry was the unfortunate person caught in the blast. If he wasn’t wearing his fire helmet, who knows how severe the burns could have been.

“We’re pleased that Terry has been able to use his settlement to help move on with his life, but this should be a lesson to other employers regarding the importance of safeguarding your workforce.”

Thanks to Unite Legal Services and Thompsons Solicitors I was vindicated of what happened to me.

Terry Wyatt, accident at work client