A Unite member who fears he could be unemployable following a workplace accident has received £25,000 in compensation.

Tom Offer, 57, from Canvey Island in Essex needed surgery on his hand after a tendon was severed during the accident at DSV Road Ltd in Harwich, a company which ships tractors across the world.

On the day of the accident Tom was taking a tractor apart for shipping. He needed to use a type of hammer for part of the job, but the correct tool hadn’t been supplied.

Despite complaining he was told to carry on the job so they could get the tractor loaded.

He used a piece of metal which unbeknown to him had been used by a colleague for dismantling an axle of another tractor and as a result had developed a serrated edge.

Despite wearing safety gloves he caught his right hand on the edge and severed his tendon. Tom was forced to take three months off work and received intensive physiotherapy.

Permanent damage caused to hand

He has lost grip in his hand due to permanent nerve damage. He also suffers permanent numbness and intolerance to the cold.

He has now returned to work as a driver, but fears in the current climate if he was made redundant he would be unable to find alternative work.

He said: “I am no longer able to do a manual job and I am very aware that the work I am currently doing will not last forever. I know that I will struggle to find alternative employment if I do find myself out of work and it is a real concern.

“I decided to pursue compensation because I felt the accident had taken my trade away from me. The company has since provided employees with the correct tools for the job so at least no-one else will suffer the same fate.”

Following the accident Mr Offer contacted his union, Unite, which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a personal injury claim for compensation.

DSV Road Ltd admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Steve Hart from Unite said: “Manual workers like Mr Offer rely on their hands to undertake their highly skilled jobs. He has alternative work with DSV Road as a driver, but his earning capacity in the future has been affected by this accident.”

Rachel Bayliss from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Mr Offer has been left with a permanent disability which puts him at a significant disadvantage if he was to attempt to find alternative work. It is unacceptable that he had asked for the correct tools for the job, but they were not provided. Investment in the correct tools must be a priority for businesses to avoid this kind of accident.”

This news story was also published by Huliq News.