factory worker whose hand was dragged into a machine and crushed has received £300,000 in compensation.

Wayne Miller, 48, from Kendal in Cumbria, has been left permanently disabled after the accident at paper manufacturer James Cropper Plc in Kendal.

He was attempting to fix a machine when his sleeve was caught in its workings dragging his hand and arm into it.

He suffered serious crush and burn injuries to his left hand and forearm and needed a skin graft from his hip.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

There was no safe working practice written for the adjustment of the part of the machinery Mr Miller was working with, although other tasks relating to the machine had health and safety practices logged.

This was despite there being two previous accidents on a similar machine on the factory floor. There were no emergency stop buttons nearby so he had to wait until a colleague ran downstairs to the control cabin to switch it off.

Mr Miller, a Unite the union member, has been able to return to work but due to his disability has had to take a less well-paid job.

Following the accident, he contacted his union Unite which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Left permanently disabled after accident

James Cropper Plc admitted liability and Thompsons was able to settle the case out of court. Thompsons were also able to secure interim payments for Mr Miller during the course of the case which gave him financial support as he waited for his case to be finalised.

Since the accident James Cropper has installed more emergency stop buttons on the machine and has implemented other safety measures.

Mr Miller said: “After the accident, I was worried about how I was going to ever return to work. I have always worked in a manual job so being left permanently disabled was a huge concern. Fortunately, I have now found alternative employment.

“Another reason for claiming compensation was to make sure my employers learnt from my accident. There had been two similar accidents in the factory but the machine I was using was not included in any health and safety changes. If they had maybe my injury could have been avoided.”

Claims can help to bring about safety changes in the workplace

Davey Hall regional secretary from Unite said: “When accidents like this happen, employees may not think of making a compensation claim. But as this case shows, making a claim can help to bring about important and much-needed safety changes in the workplace.”

A brain injury specialist from Thompsons Solicitors' Serious Injuries Team added: “This was a very serious injury which had devastating consequences for both Wayne and his family. We contended that James Cropper was at fault because they failed to provide a safe working environment and safe work equipment. A number of simple health and safety measures could have been put in place which would have avoided this accident from happening.”