Bricklayer wins £70,000 after fingers mangled in chop saw

Connor Penman was badly injured after being ordered to use a chop saw without proper training.

Injured: Connor's was injured in chop saw incident.
Injured: Connor's was injured in chop saw incident.

A bricklayer who lost his job after his fingers were mangled in a chop saw has been awarded £70,000 in damages.

Connor Penman, 29, needed an emergency seven-hour operation to treat the injuries to his left hand after his fingers were left “hanging off” following the incident in May 2018.

Despite the severity of the tradesman’s injuries medics managed to save his hand but after recovering he was let go by Mike Watt Construction.

However this week Mr Penman from Kirriemuir, Angus won a legal action against his former bosses.

He said: “My middle finger and forefinger was just hanging off – I’m okay when it comes to pain and stuff but with this I remember screaming.”

The accident took place when Mr Penman was ordered to cut up pieces of wood while business was quiet at the Mike Watt Construction yard in Northmuir.

But being a bricklayer meant he never had to operate chop saws that spin up to 50,000rpm.

Mr Penman said: “My boss just told me to get on with it and left me to it – I was on my own so there was no one else around to ask for help.

“I was left to guess how to use this machine and there was an issue with the guard that protected the blade.

“It was all a blur but I think the guard pinged back after the blade jammed while it hit a nail in the wood – this then caused the whole machine to kind of lurch and it caught my hand.”

He was then taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee where he received an emergency operation.

Medics confirmed significant tendon and neurovascular damage and performed a vein transplant.

It took four months to heal but when he eventually returned to work in August 2018 he was laid off on the spot.

He added: “I couldn’t believe the cheek of it when he let me go as my injuries were his fault.

“People need to know what he did and how he reacted because it’s simply not right.

“Although my hand will never be the same winning the legal case means I can make up for lost wages, get a mortgage for a home and get the recognition I needed to prove I was right and prove Mike Watt was in the wrong.”

Mr Penman then launched a personal injury action with Digby Brown Solicitors and his former employer was found to be negligent.

Robert Kernaghan from Digby Brown’s Dundee office said: “Agreeing to do a dangerous task when asked by your employer does not mean you have less rights in the event something goes wrong.

“The law is clear – employers have a legal duty to provide a safe working environment, safe clothing and the training needed to safely operate equipment and that is true whether the workplace is in construction, an office or offshore.”


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