A man who underwent intensive surgery following a fall at work has received £25,000 in compensation.

Richard Nichols, 38, from Peterlee in County Durham had the operation to remove two vertebrae from his neck after the rubber coating on a pair of pincers he was using slid off causing him to fall.

Mr Nichols was on top of a crane when the accident happened and as he fell back onto the platform he cracked the back of his head against a metal barrier crushing the bones in his neck.

Mr Nichols has two young children and has been off work for 18 months. The accident happened as he was fitting a new conveyor belt at a quarry operated by Tarmac in Wensley, Catterick for his employers Ace Conveyor Equipment Ltd, based in Hartlepool.

It is understood Mr Taylor had pre-existing problems with his neck and the accident brought forward the need for surgery by seven years.

Shoulder also damaged in accident

The two hour operation involved removing a piece of bone from his hip and placing it in his neck. During the accident Mr Nichols also damaged his right shoulder and now suffers from a crushed nerve.

Mr Nichols, who still works for the company but is on long term sick leave said he decided to contact Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for accident compensation as he wanted to warn people about the dangers of working with unsafe equipment.

He said: “It is hard to believe how much my life has changed. It sounds like a simple accident but the consequence is I can no longer do the things I used to do and I have been off work for 18 months.

“I contacted Thompsons Solicitors as I wanted to highlight the dangers involved with working with unsafe tools.”

Clair Wilson from Thompsons Solicitors, added: “Mr Taylor was provided with unsuitable equipment to undertake his job and as a result is now suffering from the consequences. Employers have a duty of care to ensure they provide staff with safe and suitable equipment and to provide their employees with full training in the tools they use.”