A GMB member has received compensation for injuries caused when his finger was crushed by a defective crane.

The 26-year-old, from Gateshead, suffered a deformed and desensitised left index finger which he cannot fully bend after an accident at a factory on Wearside.

The man, who was employed as a plater, was using a remote control to operate a crane, when the grab sprang open and crushed his finger in the mechanism.

He had not been trained to use the crane and was unaware that its grab was bent and therefore very likely to malfunction.

He needed surgery, spent eight weeks off work and was then subject to twice weekly medical appointments to change his dressing for a further six weeks.

Thompsons Solicitors made a claim for compensation

Following the accident he contacted his trade union, the GMB, for advice. The GMB instructed its lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that had the member been trained to use the crane when he first started the job, the accident would have been prevented.

The employer admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for £11,000.

The GMB member said: “I had been using that crane grab since I started my job but was never shown how to use it properly. It has always looked the same. I had no idea it was unsafe and was likely to cause an accident.

“My injury was extremely painful and I lost wages because I had to take time off work. I’m embarrassed about how the finger now looks and it has taken time to get used to its limited use.”

Scandalous that a multi-national employer failed to train a worker

Tom Brennan, Northern Regional Secretary from the GMB said: “It is scandalous that a multi-national employer failed to train a worker in the use of such a potentially dangerous machine, or that a system of inspection that would have identified the fault wasn’t in place.

“This was a fundamental breach of safety regulations. The government constantly attacks and undermines health and safety regulations, most recently with the amendments to the Enterprise Bill, claiming they are a burden on business, but the real burden has fallen on our member who has been needlessly, permanently injured.”

Angela Collins from Thompsons Solicitors said: “This member’s painful crush injuries would have been avoided had two very simple things been in place: training and a regular maintenance system. Such basic health and safety procedures would have been far more cost effective than having to pay compensation to an injured employee.”