A WIRRAL maintenance engineer who had to have part of his skull removed after suffering a traumatic brain injury at work has received significant compensation from his former employer.

Tom Williams fell into a coma after suffering the life-changing injuries when he was tasked with removing a pillar from the ceiling of the engineering stores at Manor Bakeries Ltd in Moreton – part of Premier Foods Group Ltd - to create a new walkway in the building.

His employers failed to carry out a risk assessment to highlight the potential dangers of removing the pillar, or to give 65-year-old Tom and the team supporting him to remove the pillar, training on how best to complete the job.

Unite member Tom used an angle grinder in an attempt to remove the bottom section of the pillar and in doing so, the top section of the structure fell from the ceiling, striking him on the head.

The injuries caused included fractures to his neck and swelling to his brain and caused Tom to fall into a coma.

Part of his skull had to be removed an after spending seven months in hospital, Tom now requires 24-hour care and supervision, which he will need for the rest of his life.

Following the incident, Tom has been left with aphasia and dysphasia, which limit his ability to understand and process words.

He also suffers from fatigue, unsteadiness,  right-sided hearing loss, tinnitus, neck pain and is prone to depression.

The accident has not only had a devastating effect on Tom’s life, but his family’s too. His wife, Barbara, suffers with depression and has had treatment from a psychologist to help her come to terms with her husband’s injuries.

Barbara said: “Our family have been left to pick up the pieces after a devastating accident. Tom has suffered so much, but so too has the whole family. He is a husband, father and grandfather, and we’ve had to witness how his life has been destroyed because of what has happened to him.”

With the help of her brother Andrew Porter and other members of the family, Barbara decided to pursue a claim for compensation for Tom in order to fund his long-term care needs.

Unite Legal Services instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for their member.

They successfully secured a package of compensation, which included a funded care plan with guaranteed, index linked annual payments, as well as further recurring payments and a capital sum to ensure Tom’s care needs will be met for the rest of his life.

Barbara added: “Tom is a changed man; he will have to live with his conditions for the rest of his life supported by his family and carers. That’s why securing compensation was so important for us, so we now know that his long-term care needs will always be looked after.”

Mick Whitley, northwest regional secretary from Unite, said: “Tom was a hardworking employee whose life has been turned upside down by this tragic accident. Manor Bakeries failed to follow routine health and safety, and the result is a catastrophic injury that has changed a longstanding employee’s life and that of his family forever.

“No one can change what has happened, but it is a relief for Barbara, and her family, who have fought so hard to ensure that Tom is fairly compensated.”

A spokesman for Premier Foods said: “Premier Foods sincerely regrets the accident at Manor Bakeries which resulted in the injury to Mr Williams and immediate steps were taken at the time to prevent any similar incident occurring in the future.

“We take our responsibilities for health and safety very seriously and over the years we have established an excellent record throughout the company.”