Kent

Kent welder blinded in explosion receives payout

Andrew Foster with guide dog Nevis Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Andrew Foster with his guide dog Nevis

A welder blinded when an oil drum exploded in his face has received a payout from his former employers.

Andrew Foster, from Kent, suffered severe facial injuries following the explosion at Highway Care Ltd's premises, near Maidstone, in 2012.

The 41-year-old lost his right eye and was left blind in the other, had fractures to his eye sockets, jaw and cheekbones and a serious brain injury.

He has now received an undisclosed settlement from the firm.

Mr Foster was injured when the oil the drum he was cutting with a plasma cutter exploded.

'Life changed forever'

Highway Care Ltd admitted health and safety failings, including not providing training and supervision in relation to the plasma cutter Mr Foster was using, at Maidstone Crown Court last year.

The firm was fined £660,00 and ordered to pay costs of of £33,358.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Andrew Foster lost his right eye and was blinded in his left

The settlement has helped Mr Foster move to a new bungalow in Minster on Sea, Sheerness, with his with wife, Donna, 39, and their children Keenan, 18 and Kirstie, 12.

Mr Foster said: "The last five years have been a real struggle as I attempted to come to terms with my injuries and how my life has been changed forever.

"I'm now focused on concentrating on the future and regaining more of my independence rather than dwelling on the past," he added.

A Highway Care Ltd spokesman said: "This terrible accident is a matter for which all of the staff and shareholders are deeply sorry and have the utmost sympathy for Andrew Foster and his family.

"Highway Care have always put health and safety at the forefront of its day to day activities and will continue to do so."

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