An engineer from Tiptree, Essex has been awarded significant compensation from his employer, Balfour Beatty, after he suffered a severe crush injury while working at an OTM maintenance depot in Colchester.

In April 2009, Andrew Tiffin was working on a tamper machine, which is used to calibrate and realign train track that has become uneven.

He was fixing a fault in the machine and needed to carry out a routine calibration and, together with a colleague, had set the machine into work mode and was lowering its measuring trolleys and wheels onto the train track.

As the RMT member reached through the machine to loosen a trolley it shot towards him, trapping his left hand against the side of the machine.

Andrew sustained a severe crush injury to his left hand, which affected the underside of his hand and middle, ring and little fingers. As a result of his injury, he needed an operation to release scar tethering in his fingers and was off work for four months. He has been left with permanent loss of full sensation in the tips of his left index and ring fingers and cannot move his left hand and fingers in the same way as he could before the accident.

Andrew contacted his trade union, the RMT, who instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a case for compensation on Andrew’s behalf.

Andrew said: “I’m relieved that my injury hasn’t prevented me from working long term and I’m glad to be back at work. However, I’m not able to stretch my hand out fully and as a result I’m not as quick or efficient as I once was, which is obviously frustrating. Thompsons did a great job of making sure I secured compensation for my loss of earnings and injury.”

Mick Cash, general secretary of RMT, said: “This accident could have been avoided so I’m pleased to see that in this case the employer has taken responsibility for the accident, paid up and also kept Andrew in employment.”

Kam Singh, Andrew’s representative from Thompsons Solicitors, said: “If the employer had a proper system for maintenance of machinery in place, this accident could have been avoided.

“Unfortunately, despite Balfour Beatty being an international employer who should lead by example when it comes to protecting their staff and providing a safe place of work they failed on this occasion.”