A GMB member whose hand was crushed during a horrific workplace accident has received £57,000 in compensation.

Darrell Neromilotis, 46, from Barrow in Furness needed two operations to save his hand following the accident at Playdale Playgrounds Ltd.

Darrell had worked for the outdoor equipment manufacturers for two years before the accident in the factory in November 2007.

He was using a pipe bending machine to bend stainless steel when the machine started to shake and move around because the pipe was too thick for the equipment.

His left hand was dragged into the machine and because the emergency stop device was faulty, Darrell’s hand was trapped until a colleague could help him.

The fault on the emergency device had been identified months earlier but nothing had been done to fix it.

Darrell was forced to take five months off work after the accident whilst he underwent two operations to mend his hand and wrist.

Darrell now has a permanent disability to his wrist and hand causing reduced movement and loss of strength. He has been able to find alternative employment as a supervisor for a wind turbine firm.

Pursue a claim for accident compensation

Following the accident, he contacted his union, the GMB, which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue compensation.

Thompsons argued the company had instructed Darrell to use the wrong machine for the task and that the emergency stop button should have worked. Thompsons overcame Playdale Playgrounds’ defence and settled the claim out of court.

Darrell said: “The emergency stop device on the machine had been faulty for a long time. There had been a previous accident but nothing was done to fix it. A simple repair job might have saved me from the suffering I have been through and the long-term injury I now have.

“I am lucky I’ve found another job and after intensive physiotherapy and acupuncture, I have learnt to deal with my injury. In my new job, I am a supervisor so my injuries don’t get in the way.”

Steve Gibbons from the GMB said: “It is simply unacceptable that this machine was allowed to continue running when the emergency stop device was known to be faulty. It is only just that our member has been compensated for his injuries.”

A brain injury lawyer at Thompsons Solicitors said: “We see far too many cases where employees are asked to work on machines that are not designed for the job or where the emergency stop devices are broken. For the employer, it is often something they mean to get round to, for the employee it is the difference between a healthy future and one with a disability.”