A Unite the Union member who needed his left leg amputated above the knee following a crush accident at work has received £1.6 million in damages for the incident.

The 58-year-old foundry worker from the North East said he hopes that the publicity about his case would prevent similar accidents in the workplace. The member’s leg was crushed by falling metal and ultimately had to be amputated.

Unite said that the £1.6 million award for the 2014 injury was one of the biggest that the union had obtained for its members in the Yorkshire, North East and Humberside region – and that it had obtained nearly £10 million in personal injury claims for its members in the region during 2015.

The foundry worker said: “I received extensive crush injuries to my left leg and as it was so badly damaged the surgical team had to amputate my left leg above the knee.

“I am currently experiencing large amounts of pain and suffer from the psychological effects of my accident. I am slowly coming to terms with my injury which means I will never work again.

“I still have to use a wheelchair, when I am unable to use my prosthetic leg, to get around and this has caused huge problems as my wife also has a disability. We are heavily dependent on our family to help with ongoing care and support.

“I am speaking out, albeit anonymously, as without the first-class legal support provided by Unite there is no way that I could have received a settlement on this scale.

“As an individual, I would not have been able to mount this successful legal action. I am very grateful for the hard work of my legal team at Unite and Thompsons Solicitors in Newcastle, especially Paul Brown.

“I hope my case will reinforce the importance of health and safety reps in the workplace and reduce the chances of a similar accident happening to others in the future.”

Unite regional secretary, Karen Reay, said: “In 2015, Unite Legal Services obtained over £9.9 million in personal injury compensation for our members across the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside region.

“One hundred per cent of this impressive figure was paid in full to our members in every case, without any of the deductions that high street solicitors would make, and demonstrates the value of union membership and the importance of having access to the highest standard of specialist legal assistance.

“The £1.6 million award to our member is one of the biggest we have achieved in the North East. While the headline figure appears large, it has to take into account the scale of the disability, the loss of future earnings, the need for special housing accommodation, the requirement for ongoing care and the provision of prosthetics for the rest of his life.”

Paul Brown, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Our client has been through hell. Accidents at work of this severity should be a wakeup call to all employers – safety of workers is paramount.

“We’re here to support Unite members who have experienced any injury at work however serious. Our specialist teams are able to provide not only legal representation but also access to medical and other specialists able to help with long term needs in cases like this one.”