The 33-year-old former signal banksman, who does not want to be named, was working a routine job at a construction site in Bicester that involved him attaching safety lifting gear to an excavator, which was being operated by an employee of another firm.

As the driver signalled that the Solihull man was safe to come closer, he accidentally pushed a lever that caused the excavator’s ‘boom’ – the top of its arm – to drop and crush him against a retaining wall.

He was struck with such force that his pelvis was crushed and a number of his internal organs were pushed upwards within his body. He had to be placed in a coma for more than two weeks while medical staff worked to repair the significant damage, which included dialysis for kidney damage.

His injury caused loss of blood supply to his right leg. Doctors performed a vascular bypass to correct this, however, the muscles had deteriorated so much that the doctors had no choice but to amputate above his knee.

“I spent almost two months in hospital with more injuries that I would dare to count,” he said. “It was an excruciating period of time for me and my family, both physically and mentally. Even after I finally left hospital, I had to contend with the fact that I would never be the same again. I’ve battled depression for years as a result.”

Despite the accident occurring six years ago, the man has only recently been able to return to work in a part-time managerial role. His amputation has meant he struggles with mobility and remains in significant pain.

He turned to Unite the Union and Thompsons Solicitors for legal guidance, who helped him secure a seven-figure compensation package, including interim payments to allow him to pay for prosthetic rehabilitation, physiotherapy, and counselling. The legal specialists argued that had the operator of the excavator enabled a safe lock – known as a ‘dead man’s handle’ – the boom of the machine would not have dropped and crushed the man. The employer of the driver, alongside the company responsible for the construction site, were both found liable for the accident.

He continued: “The last six years have been a nightmare, but I have no idea what I would have done if it wasn’t for Unite and Thompsons. Their hard work meant I could pay for a complete rehabilitation package that has helped restore some normality to my life. For that alone, I am extremely grateful.”

Unite regional officer, Tim Parker, added: “I cannot begin to imagine the trauma our member faced as a result of an accident that could have, and should have, been avoided. One mistake by the driver has left our member with life-changing physical and psychological injuries he will likely never recover from.

“Basic health and safety is not something to be taken for granted. Safety systems are there for a reason and, when they’re not taken seriously, the consequences can be dire – as this case shows.”