The GMB and Thompsons Solicitors have secured damages of more than £130,000.00 for a Cumbrian factory worker who was injured whilst working at Crown Bevcan in Carlisle. A pallet had jammed in the machine Michael Pattison was operating. He followed the usual practice of switching the machine to manual to straighten the pallet. When he put his hand into the machine it suddenly and without warning started up again, lifted the pallet and crushed his hand. He shouted for help but it was very busy and took a couple of minutes before anyone came to help.

Mr Pattison had to undergo surgery where wires were used to reunite the fractures in his fingers and hand. After intensive physiotherapy he regained some but not all use of his hand and had to give up work and his hobby of playing golf. Mr Pattison sought advice from the GMB and was referred to Thompsons Solicitors. Negotiations did not result in agreement with the insurers for Crown Bevcan and proceedings were issued.

Commenting on the accident Mr Pattison said "It was an immensely frightening experience being trapped and I thought I was going to lose my hand. After the accident I wanted to return to work but it was just too physical. I am now 60 years old but wanted to keep on working until I was 65. I was nervous about issuing proceedings but my solicitor put my mind at rest and soon after the insurers agreed to increase their offer to what was recommended by Thompsons. I am over the moon with the settlement".

Employee was not kept safe at work

Willie Carroll, Mr Pattison's GMB Branch Secretary, said: "The company failed to make sure Michael Pattison was kept safe at work. His injuries could have been a lot worse. He was a loyal and dedicated member of staff who could not get back to work because of his injuries. I am pleased that the GMB was able to help him with Thompsons who have supported him through the claim process"

Mr Pattison's solicitor at Thompsons, Fiona Belgian, said: "Mr Pattison's injuries could have been a lot worse but he has still lost a great deal of function of his hand and been through a very frightening experience in being trapped by this machine. The accident was avoidable but it seems that the company were keen to have as little down time as possible and so did not stop the machine altogether. The insurers initially refused to agree the right level of compensation however as soon as proceedings were issued an agreement was reached".