Butcher secured £150,000 after being accidentally stabbed at work

Butcher injured at work after colleague accidentally stabs him in the arm

A butcher received £150,000 in compensation after a colleague accidentally stabbed him in the arm.

Ian Harrower, 65, suffered a massive puncture wound to his right forearm after he was skewered by the six-inch blade.

The knife was so sharp it even burst through protective chainmail clothing.

This horrifying butcher accident left Ian with little use of his hand as the knife severed an artery and multiple nerves.

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 provide safe 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.”

Ian was injured at 6.30am on 6 march 2020 at a beef production line in Broxburn.

He and colleague were setting up their workspace for the day when a set of scales fell from a table.

They both attempted to catch the scales at the same time – but at that moment the other colleague was also holding a knife and the sudden lunge resulted in Ian being stabbed just below the elbow.

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.”

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 then 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 our Edinburgh office, supported Ian’s claim for compensation and investigated the circumstances of his workplace accident.

She gathered reports from medical and employment experts and also the relevant paperwork from Stoddarts.

Armed with the right evidence Theresa 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: “Theresa was an incredible help to me and my family - she talked us through every step of the process, made sure we were always updated and was generous with her time and advice.

“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.”

Gordon Dalyell, Partner at Digby Brown in Edinburgh, has helped people with workplace accident claims for decades.

He agreed with Ian’s calls that workplace safety is your right, not just your luck.

Mr Dalyell said: “Ian’s case is one that illustrates that wearing PPE is not the be all and end all for workplace safety – equipment needs to be fit for purpose and processes need to be properly risk assessed.

“These are basic legal rights and if they’re not followed then people have legal options – so people should never assume they don’t have a case or be put off seeking legal advice.”