A Unite member has received a substantial sum in compensation after he lost his leg in a horrific workplace accident. 

Terry Ledger, 43, from Grays in Essex was dismantling scaffolding at Coryton Oil Refinery in Essex when he fell through wire caging and his left leg became caught in the moving blade of an industrial fan.

The caging, used to protect the fan, had been damaged in an earlier accident but had only been repaired using a piece of string. Mr Ledger hadn’t been warned about the danger.

Amputated below the knee

Mr Ledger’s leg was so badly injured it was amputated below the knee and he now uses a prosthetic limb. 

After a fight lasting almost five years his employers, Vange Scaffolding and Engineering, agreed to pay the compensation. 

The company had already been fined £20,000 by the Health and Safety Executive for health and safety breaches relating to the incident.

Pursue a claim for compensation

Following the accident Mr Ledger needed two operations and extensive physiotherapy. He also suffered post traumatic stress disorder including nightmares and flashbacks for which he underwent significant counselling to help him come to terms with his injuries. 

He still suffers from phantom pains and has to take a cocktail of medication every day. He has been unable to return to work and will certainly never work as a scaffolder again. 

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

Thompsons argued that Vange Scaffolding and Engineering should have recognised the danger posed by the moving fan.

Mr Ledger said: “I feel a great deal of anger towards my employers for allowing this accident to happen. It has left me struggling to deal with the physical and mental consequences of the loss of my leg.

“This compensation will help to pay for my prosthetic limbs which I had to have privately made. It also goes some way towards making up for the wage loss I will suffer for the rest of my life as I will never be able to earn a living as a scaffolder again.”

Guy Langston, regional officer at Unite said: “Vange Scaffolding and Engineering was prosecuted as a result of Mr Ledger’s accident and fined £20,000. However, whilst they have lost money our client has lost his livelihood and lives daily with the consequences of an entirely foreseeable and entirely preventable accident. The safety standards on site were lamentable.”

Trevor Sterling from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Mr Ledger suffered a traumatic and life changing injury, one that could have been avoided had the employers taken more care. Had it not been for the accident our client had another 20 years scaffolding ahead of him.”