An electrician who has been forced to change his career after he was left disabled following a workplace accident has received £50,000 in compensation.

Paul Merrell, 50, from Wisbech in Cambridgeshire was forced to give up his 35-year-career after he slipped seriously damaging his arm while working for Premier Foods International.

Paul was fixing a machine in March 2006 and slipped on a clear residue which had accumulated underneath. He fell on his right wrist, suffering extensive nerve damage.

Paul attempted to work for several months but his condition became worse and he was diagnosed with “regional pain syndrome”. His condition means he only has limited use of his hand and can no longer work as an electrician because he is unable to grip tools.

Medically retired after accident at work

He was medically retired and will never be able to work at his trade again. He is now retraining to become a sports coach with expertise in strength and conditioning.

Paul was a sprinter and ran at high level. He is now coaching internationals in a variety of sports and has taught national medallists in athletics in recent months.

He said: “I’ve lost some use of my dominant right hand and as a result I’ve had to accept that I will never work in my trade again. At 50 I’ve had to completely rethink what I can do to earn a living and I’ve decided to focus on my coaching.

“I decided to claim compensation because I felt strongly that Premier Foods International should have had stricter health and safety procedures. The last few years since the accident have been a real struggle for me and my family. I’ve received counselling but I still feel very angry that my trade has been taken away from me in this way.”

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

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

Thompsons settled the claim out of court after Premier Foods International admitted liability.

Steve Hart from Unite said: “What looks on the face of it to be a simple slipping accident led our member to permanently change his career. Basic steps taken by the employer would have avoided this accident.”

Rachel Bayliss from Thompsons Solicitors said: “This fall has had a life-changing impact on Mr Merrell. Simple housekeeping and proper inspection would have been reasonable steps to take and would have ensured staff were safe.”