Warning: graphic imagery below

A father-of-four who lost his finger and thumb in a workplace accident is calling for better health and safety standards.

William Mortimer, from St Albans, said he is in constant pain and struggles with everyday chores after the incident at Hardall International in Dunstable in March 1 last year.

The 61-year-old, also known as Billy, said he was manufacturing refuse chutes when a site worker used a nearby workbench to remove strips of metal from a door using an angle grinder.

He was eight feet away using a rolling machine and was concerned when there were sparks from the angle grinder and several pieces of metal hit the side of his face, Mr Mortimer said.

According to him, the distraction caused his right hand to be pulled into the rolling machine up to his wrist.

He was rushed to hospital, but later had to have his right index finger and thumb amputated.

Mr Mortimer said: “I remember the day so well. They asked me if they could use the workbench. I suggested that he used a plasma cutter as this would produce a better finish and could be used outside.

“He proceeded with the angle grinder. It generated so many sparks. I was horrified when I realised that my hand had entered the machine and just went into total shock.”

Warning: graphic photo of Mr Mortimer's injuries below

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

After the incident he instructed specialist workplace injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, to help him with specialist care and rehabilitation. Mr Mortimer is now urging companies to always ensure the safety of workers come first.

He added: “Since my injury, I needed help with so many things. I couldn’t wash the left side of my body or my hair. I couldn’t make a can of soup for myself, but spill it all down me when I am trying to open it. "I’ve been very reliant on my family for support with my wife, Maggie, having to do a huge amount around the home and others having to drive me to regular appointments and hand therapy.

"I am in constant pain, as well as psychological issues like flashbacks and nightmares.

“I have now been left with reduced strength and grip in my hand which has an impaction on my overall function. Washing and dressing remain an issue as does kitchen tasks and participating in my previous hobby of golf and driving.

“While nothing will change what has happened, I truly hope that lessons can be learned from my story so that no one else faces this nightmare.”

Mr Mortimer’s lawyers at Irwin Mitchell claim Hardall International admitted liability for the incident.

Hardall was first approached for comment on Monday (August 12), but a response was not received at the time of publication