A factory worker has been awarded £16,000 after suffering a deep laceration to his ring finger on his dominant hand during an accident at work with the support of Thompsons Solicitors and Unite Legal Services.

60-year-old Kenneth Powell was operating an Altendorf saw, used to cut blocks of paper, in a Yorkshire factory when the accident happened.

He had turned off the machine but unknown to him, when he went to clear the excess dust away from the surface, the blade continued to rotate and it cut into his right finger.

Following the incident, Kenneth was examined by a first-aider at work before being transferred to hospital where it was found that he had damaged a tendon. He was off work for two weeks and nearly three years on he continues to suffer numbness in his thumb, especially in cold weather.

Following the accident the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the scene of the accident and issued a notice to his employer for its failure to ensure the machine had a safety guard.

Kenneth, a lifelong union member, contacted Unite Legal Services who instructed accident at work specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate a compensation claim.

Kenneth said: “I had worked with these machines for years so I knew to wait until I’d switched the power off before putting my hand near the blade. Despite waiting it continued to spin.

“It’s very frustrating to think that this whole incident could have been avoided if my employer had installed a safety guard around the blade. I’m grateful for the support provided by Unite Legal Services and Thompsons Solicitors, but my tendon damage still causes me trouble three years on and I guess it always will.”

Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “Our member was performing a routine task at work, but without a safety guard around the blade he was always at risk of injury, it was effectively a trap. This long term injury could have been avoided had the employer taken basic health and safety steps.

“It shouldn’t take a person to suffer an injury at work and enforcement action from the HSE for the employer to address such an obvious safety risk.”