A GMB member who had to give up his trade as a driller when he suffered a serious wrist injury at work has received compensation from his employer.

The 29-year-old from Barrow in Furness needed two operations after the accident in 2008 when he was a newly qualified driller for BAE Systems Marine.

He was proud to have finally qualified in his trade, but since the accident has had to work in a desk-based job.

He suffered a fractured wrist and torn ligaments when a two stone drill he was manoeuvring suddenly spun around because it had not been fitted with a safety switch.

Complications with the recovery his injuries meant he needed surgery on two occasions.

He was off work for almost three months and while recovering from his second operation he was unable to hold his newborn son.

He now has limited movement in his right wrist and cannot lift heavy items. He has since gained employment as a quality assurance engineer with BAE but is still coming to terms with the fact that he will now always have to work in an office environment.

Thompsons Solicitors investigated a claim for compensation

After the accident his trade union, the GMB, provided support through specialist lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation. Thompsons obtained evidence that BAE Systems were at fault. BAE admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

The GMB member said: “The accident happened just a couple of weeks after I became fully qualified and I was looking forward to my future career. My dad worked offshore and I knew that with my qualifications I could earn a good wage in that industry. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’m no longer fit for manual labour and that I’ll work in an office the rest of my life.

“I’ve risen to the challenge and have learnt how to use computers and have been on a number of training courses. But if I could turn back time I would much rather that this accident never happened.”

Steve Gibbons from the GMB added: “BAE Systems is a huge employer in the North West. It should have had effective health and safety measures in place to avoid this type of accident. A simple risk assessment would have highlighted the dangers with this drill and the need for a safety switch.”

David Burn from Thompsons Solicitors said: “This young man’s chosen occupation as a driller was short-lived because his employer failed to provide him with safe work equipment. The injuries have limited his earning capacity. The level of compensation he received with the support of his union reflects not only his disability, but also the fact that he’s had to retrain to find an alternative work.”