A harbour worker who suffered serious leg injuries in an accident at work has received £200,000 in compensation.

The Unite member was sat in a crane as part of a load test of the machinery. It was his job to lift a large bag of water and extend the arm of the crane outwards, directed by another employee on the ground.

"Having the full backing of Unite Legal Services and Thompsons Solicitors was vital, and means what I have been through wasn’t ignored.”

Thompsons Solicitors’ accident at work client

However, as he was manoeuvring the bag, the crane started to tip over towards the harbour. To avoid falling into the water and potentially drowning, the worker made the decision to jump from the crane’s cab and in doing so he landed approximately eight feet on concrete below.

He suffered a serious injury to his right leg, which has needed two operations to insert fixators to stabilise the bone and tissue, and allow it to heal. He continues to suffer swelling and pain in his leg, and following the accident his job was terminated on incapacity grounds. He has been unable to return to work since.

The other colleague present at the accident had informed the Unite member that the maximum safe radius for the arm was eight metres, at which point an alarm would sound. However this was incorrect, as it tipped over before that, at 7.6 metres.

He contacted Unite Legal Services and instructed Thompsons Solicitors to make a compensation claim.

"The accident was utterly terrifying,” he said. “I went into the crane’s cab assuming it was completely safe and all I would be doing was a basic test. Instead, I was forced to choose between jumping onto the concrete floor or falling into the water – both of which were unthinkable.

“I can’t walk long distances anymore and I’ve come to realise that I’ll always have pain and swelling in my leg, which is a huge burden on my day-to-day life. Neither my employer, nor the employer of the person instructing me on the ground, wanted to accept that they were at fault for my accident, so having the full backing of Unite Legal Services and Thompsons Solicitors was vital, and means what I have been through wasn’t ignored.”

Stuart Davies, Regional Legal Officer from Unite the union, said: “Poor health and safety put our member in a dangerous predicament that could have been even more serious, if not for his quick thinking. The health and safety improvements implemented as a result of our member’s injury will benefit all workers at the site, but this injury could have and should have been avoided.

“As a member, he had access to specialist serious injury solicitors through Unite Legal Services to ensure he received 100 per cent of the compensation, with no deductions, the level of compensation reflected the seriousness of the injuries sustained.”