A maintenance worker who fell and had his hand crushed in a machine at work has been awarded damages by his former employer, Automotive Applied Technologies in Accrington. Mr David Waring, of Livesey, was attempting to replace a guard on a machine in November 2004 when he slipped on oil which had leaked onto the floor. Mr Waring was off work for three weeks and subsequently fought for compensation with the assistance of his union, Amicus, and Thompsons Solicitors.

"Despite the fact that the company had been notified on several occasions that the machine was in a bad state of repair, no action was taken to make the area around it any safer," explained Mr Waring. "As well as oil leaking from the machine there were tools stacked against it. We asked for the proper parts to be made available to make the machine safe, but nothing was done about it and nothing was done to keep the area clean. It was an accident waiting to happen.

"I was in a lot of pain and off work for three weeks. Instead of paying me sick pay the company decided to lay me off."

Peter Wheeler, Regional Officer for Amicus, said: "Mr Waring received appalling treatment, not just in terms of the accident itself but the way that the company treated him subsequently. He should not have been exposed to such danger in the workplace. Amicus will always fight for members who've been treated in this way."

Medical evidence showed that Mr Waring suffered an injury to his right hand for which he received over £4,000 in compensation. Liability was denied by the defendants, but once court proceedings were issued they agreed to settle the claim for injury and financial losses to Mr Waring.

Commenting, Mr Waring's personal injury lawyer, Juliet Young, at Thompsons Solicitors, said: "To avoid the accident the defendants could have fixed the machine sooner. They were aware of almost constant small leaks which lead to a build up of oil, and they could have had a better cleaning system in place."