A gardener who contracted a life-threatening infection because his employers ignored his requests for thorn-proof gloves has been compensated by his former employers.

The 59-year-old from Derbyshire was in intensive care for two weeks after being pricked by the Berberis bush whilst working as a gardener for Broxtowe Borough Council.

Initial flu-like symptoms soon turned horrific as his arm swelled so much that the skin split open from his elbow to wrist.

The gardener of 30 years was rushed to hospital where he was diagnosed with a serious streptococcal infection which had entered his body from the thorn-prick.

Thompsons Solicitors made personal injury compensation claim

He has fully recovered from the infection but has been left with a large scar on his arm. He also suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and as a result has been unable to return to work as a gardener and is currently unemployed.

Following his recovery he contacted his trade union, Unite the Union, for advice which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

The member had asked several times to be provided with thorn proof gloves but his requests were ignored. The gloves he was using to prune bushes were inadequate.

Broxtowe Borough Council was found liable by Nottingham County Court where compensation was awarded.

Should have been provided with the correct protective equipment

The Unite member said: “I’d asked my bosses a number of times for gloves which were more suitable to my job but my requests were ignored. As a gardener you expect to be scratched by thorns but with the correct gloves it can be avoided. However, I never expected that I would end up in hospital with a life threatening infection as a result of a thorn-prick.

“The accident left has left me scared of returning to a job I used to love. I can’t imagine ever being able to go back to gardening again.”

Nigel Hadfield from Unite added: “This member had decades experience as a gardener but will never work in the trade again as a result of this accident. His employers should have ensured he was provided with the correct protective equipment. Instead this member ended up in intensive care suffering from a very serious infection.”

Allison Fitchett from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Working with thorny bushes are part and parcel of being a gardener but steps can be taken to avoid injury. Our client asked time and again for his bosses to provide him with suitable gloves but his requests fell on deaf ears with appalling consequences.”