A factory worker who was narrowly saved from being burnt alive when he was trapped by a filing cabinet as fires broke out around him has received compensation for his injuries after help from his trade union.

The GMB member from Kidderminster is lucky to be alive after the accident at Somers Forge Ltd in Halesowen.

The 53-year-old works as a forge helper for the open die forgemasters which specialises in forging marine applications.

In August 2007 he was working beside a waist-height track and was waiting for a two and a half tonne metal pole to be lowered by a crane onto a wheeled trolley. The 16 foot pole had just come out of the forge and was red hot. As it was lowered it dropped from the crane and rolled off the trolley.

Accident resulted in Crush Injuries

The member, who has worked for the firm for 24 years, couldn’t get out of the way in time and as the pole rolled towards him it hit a filing cabinet, pushing it towards him and pinning him to the track.

The member was crushed against the track for several horrifying minutes as items around him started to burn. He was rescued by colleagues and despite not being burnt he suffered crush injuries to his left leg and his left shoulder was wrenched, leaving him with long term problems.

He also suffered post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) including nightmares and flashbacks.

Following the accident he was forced to take nine months off work. At first his shoulder was so bad he was unable to lift a glass of water. He has received physiotherapy and has now been able to return to work but cannot do any heavy lifting. His injury also means he can no longer swim.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

He contacted the GMB for advice and the trade union instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that the company was using poor lifting equipment and should have had safer procedures to move heavy and hot objects.

Somers Forge admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for £25,000.

The member said: "Those few minutes when I was trapped behind the filing cabinet were terrifying. It felt like an eternity. Everything around me was burning and I was sure that I would be burnt too. I’ve now been able to go back to work but my shoulder will never be the same meaning there are some jobs I just can’t do any more."