Sheerness Man Left Blind After Workplace Injury Speaks Out After Former Company Fined £660,000

Expert Workplace Accident Lawyers Hoping To Help Welder Access Funds For Rehabilitation


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

A welder who suffered severe facial injuries when an oil drum he was cutting open exploded has spoken of how his life was ‘turned upside down in a second’ as his former employer was fined £660,000 following a number of workplace safety failings.


Andrew Foster, 40, from Minster-on-Sea, near Sheerness was asked to cut the top off an empty oil drum with a plasma cutter while working for Highway Care Ltd in August 2012.


However, as soon as he began cutting it exploded, with the lid striking him in the face and throwing him into the air at the company’s Delting premises.


The father-of-two suffered catastrophic facial injuries, including fractures to his eye sockets, jaw and cheekbones and a serious brain injury. He was airlifted to King’s College Hospital and underwent emergency surgery to reconstruct his face. As a result of the injuries he lost vision in both of his eyes


A Health and Safety Executive investigation was launched into the incident and Highway Care Ltd pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court to failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees at the two sites and, in particular, failing to provide such information, instruction, training and supervision in relation to use of a plasma cutter.


Andrew has also instructed expert workplace injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his case and help him access funds that will ensure his family’s financial security and enable him to access the help and support he needs during his recovery.


Despite surgery Andrew lost his right eye and has no vision in his left eye, which meant he was registered blind shortly after the accident. His injuries have also significantly changed his appearance and Andrew permanently wears sunglasses as he is conscious of the impact this can have on his loved ones.


He also suffered memory loss following the accident and continues to struggle to eat and speak. His brain injury means he continues to have problems with managing his emotions, fatigue, anxiety and headaches.


Sarah Griggs, an expert workplace injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Andrew, said:


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“Andrew suffered terrible injuries at work in 2012 and has faced a very difficult road to recovery in the last four years.

“He still has a long way to go and we are determined to help him by accessing funds that will allow him to provide for his family, as well as to ensure he has access the care he continues to need.

“The HSE’s prosecution of Highway Care Ltd and the fined imposed on the company will hopefully mean that the failures identified during the investigation will be resolved immediately. We also hope this incident and the legal action will act as a reminder to all employers of the need to protect staff and provide them with a safe working environment."
Sarah Griggs, Associate


Andrew said: “My life was completely changed in a split second when I starting cutting that oil drum. I have been left with terrible injuries that have a huge impact on my day-to-day life.


“I have lost my independence and now rely very heavily on my wife Donna for almost all my everyday needs. I worry about the financial impact of me not working will have on my family.


“Nothing can change what happened to me but I hope the HSE’s prosecution will lead to changes in the way safety is handled at the company and that my former colleagues or any other employees don’t have to experience what I have.


“I also hope by taking legal action myself that I will be able to provide for my young family and ensure I can access the help and support I need so we can begin to rebuild our lives and try and put this ordeal behind us.”