The 65-year-old from Isleworth in Middlesex suffered from tendon damage to his little and ring fingers after using an unsafe drill whilst working for Field Systems Design.

The two fingers are permanently bent as a result of the accident, caused when his work glove became snagged in the drill bit causing his fingers to twist.

The drill supplied should have had a safety handle.

He needed surgery on his fingers and had to take several days off work before returning on light duties.

The injured man was worried about his employer's reaction if he claimed compensation but was persuaded to take action after receiving a letter from Unite about the union’s free legal services alerting him to the need to act – and fast.

Unite’s lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors, had just 12 days left to enter a claim against Field Systems Design, but pulled the case together before the deadline and secured £8,224 in compensation after Field Systems Design admitted liability. Personal injury claims must be made within three years of the date of the accident.

The granddad-of-three, who has now retired from his job as an electrician, said: “When I received the letter from Unite I thought I might be too late but Thompsons reacted very quickly. I’d advise anyone who has an accident at work to consider claiming compensation straight away. I could easily have lost out if Thompsons hadn’t dealt with my claim so swiftly.”

He added: “I’ve learnt to adapt to my injuries but there are still some things I’m unable to do. My fingers look horrible and I’m very aware that they are disfigured.”

Peter Kavanagh regional secretary at Unite added: “This member’s case shows the expertise our legal services can offer. This member suffered permanent injury to his fingers which means he now finds it difficult doing certain manual tasks. It is only right he is compensated for an accident which could have been avoided had his employer supplied him with the correct equipment.”

Gwen Wylie from Thompson Solicitors said: “Many solicitors would have turned down his claim because so little time was left to collate a case but Thompsons, through Unite’s support, was able to give the case the full attention it deserved.”