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Ian Harrower, 65, was working at a beef production line in Broxburn on March 6, 2020, when he was stabbed just below the elbow with a six-inch blade – which was so sharp it burst through his protective chainmail clothing.
The accident happened after a set of scales fell from a table and both Ian and a colleague, who was holding a knife, lunged to catch it.
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The knife punctured Ian’s right forearm and severed an artery and multiple nerves. As a result, the grandfather was left with little use in his dominant hand.
Ian, who has two children and three grandchildren, said: “The pain was unlike anything I’ve felt before.
“It wasn’t like the movies where the person is unaware of what’s happened until a few seconds later - this was immediate, agonising and felt like an electric shock.
“I literally shouted in pain and as I pulled away I felt the inside of my overalls become warm and wet – I knew straight away it was my blood.
“That’s when other people round me started to react and they got me ready for hospital.”
Meat company AK Stoddart tried to blame Ian for his own injuries – they claimed he should have told the other worker to not be near him with a knife.
But they backed down after a legal action with Digby Brown proved bosses failed to use the provided safety equipment and follow health and safety rules.
Ian from Uphall, West Lothian said: “I was a dedicated employee so they should be utterly ashamed for trying to blame me when their failings literally changed the course of my life.”
Following the accident, Ian was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary by ambulance for urgent surgery and to replace four pints of blood lost during the incident.
He later underwent a procedure to remove a section of artery from his right thigh to repair the wound to his arm.
Although the actual wound has now healed Ian was left with lifelong physical complications.
He now has little feeling or mobility in his right hand meaning he has had to re-learn tasks with his left-hand and he can no longer ride his motorbike, do gardening or care for his disabled wife.
On top of that, the injury forced him into early retirement which resulted in a loss of earnings for him and his family.
Ian added: “My hand is now in constant agony and I can barely use it.
“I’m meant to be approaching the time of my life when I get to relax and focus on family so to now have to go through this and re-learn even basic tasks is devastating."
Theresa Mutapi, associate in Digby Brown’s Edinburgh office, supported Ian’s claim for compensation and investigated the circumstances of his workplace accident.
She was able to show the accident was in fact linked to the faulty scales that fell off the table and if Stoddarts had the right scales in the first place then Ian wouldn’t have been injured.
Ian said: “I’m not the kind of person to cause problems or complain but what happened to me is unacceptable.
“Too often businesses wait for fatal or serious accidents before taking action – or even simply listening to staff’s concerns - and it shouldn’t be like that.
“People should feel safe to flag known problems because at the end of the day we all just want to make a living and get home.”