Workers £2m compensation claim for lost arm

A local council in Scotland is facing a damages bid after a horrific accident at a waste treatment plant left a man without an arm.

Steve Gallon, 42, of Banff was seriously injured in an accident at work , which led to him losing an arm, and has filed a compensation claim for £2 million against Aberdeenshire Council.

Mr Gallon was employed at the Inverboyndie Waste Treatment Plant, near Whitehills, as a technician. The accident happened in November 2004 when he was asked to clear an obstruction in a machine, while it was still operating. His hand became caught between an unguarded roller and a conveyor belt. He was rushed to a hospital in Aberdeen but had to have his arm amputated and also lost part of his shoulder and collarbone as his injuries were so severe. He now has to wear a prosthetic arm, which is strapped to his body.

Mr Gallon has four children and now lives with his father Ian Gallon. Mr Gallon senior told the hearing that his son had been left a changed man since the horrific accident. He told the sheriff how he constantly wakes up screaming after enduring nightmares and flashbacks about the accident.

He said: “These last four-and-a-half years have been very hard for him and I have seen a real change in him. I hear him through the night, screaming when he’s having horrible flashbacks and nightmares, He says he can feel his left hand like it is clenched into a fist, although its not there. He has been through so much and it has been hard for me to see him going through it.”

Banff Sheriff Court heard how employees could never recall seeing a guard in place before the accident. The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive and the local authority was prosecuted in December 2005.

The sheriff said that the accident had resulted in part from a lack of training – and more particularly because of physical measures which were not in place. Aberdeenshire Council admitted failing to ensure that the conveyor belt had a fixed guard. The council was fined £12,000 after admitting the breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Mr Gallon has now lodged a personal injury claim for lost earnings and for the pain and suffering he continues to endure since the accident. A full hearing on his claim is expected to be held at Edinburgh’s Court of Session on May 29 of this year.

Aberdeenshire Council refused to comment. A spokesman said: “The matter is being handled by our insurers and we cannot comment further.”

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