A welder has won a five year battle for compensation with his former bosses after his face was blown off by an exploding oil drum.
Andrew Foster, 41, was left with horrific injuries after the drum he was slicing with a plasma cutter exploded in his face – completely destroying his eyes.
The dad-of-two was in a coma for 16 days and underwent 27 hours of surgery after the incident, which occurred while working for Highway Care in 2012.
The explosion left him totally blind.
Welder Andrew Foster, 41, from Minster on Sea in Kent, was left with horrific injuries
He has now moved into a new home in Minster on Sea, Kent, after receiving an undisclosed payout – following a five-year legal wrangle.
Andrew said: ‘The last five years have been a real struggle as I attempted to come to terms with my injuries and the how my life has been changed forever.’
The drum he was slicing with a plasma cutter exploded in his face destroying his eyes
Andrew now wears sunglasses permanently because he is conscious of the effect his damaged eyes have on his wife Donna, 39, and their children Keenan, 18, and Kirstie, 12.
Andrew found it incredibly hard to adjust to a life without sight.
He was offered a guide dog by Guide Dogs For The Blind and was paired with a golden retriever called Nevis.
He added: ‘I was initially very reluctant to have a guide dog as I was attacked by a dog when I was young and have not trusted them since.
‘However, myself and Nevis have built a real bond.
‘He is my new best friend and has helped me regain some of the independence I have craved since I lost my eyesight.
‘His arrival has certainly lifted spirits in the house as we know the benefit he will have to my quality of life.
‘Before I was stuck at home a lot but I can now do things that I was unable to do on my own previously such as going for a walk.
Andrew (pictured with wife Donna, 39) was in a coma for 16 days and surgeons spent more than 26 hours rebuilding his face
The father-of-two has also joined a shooting club for the visually impaired and is preparing to take part in a compeititon.
‘Acknowledging that I will need support for the rest of my life was hard to accept,’ hje said.
‘But moving into our new bungalow and Nevis becoming one of the family has provided a major boost to everyone.
Now he has won a five year legal battle for compensation for an undisclosed amount
‘We’re determined to make the most of this Christmas and have a real family celebration.
‘I’m now focused on concentrating on the future and regaining more of my independence rather than dwelling on the past.’
Highway Care Ltd was fined £660,000 last year after it pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court to failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees at the two sites.
Sarah Griggs, expert workplace injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Andrew, said: ‘The injuries Andrew suffered because of failings by his employer were truly terrible.
‘The day Andrew was injured changed his life forever and he has faced a long journey to get to this stage in his rehabilitation.
‘We are so pleased that Andrew, his family and Nevis are enjoying their new bungalow and are settling in well.
‘Their move into their new home is a major milestone in Andrew’s recovery.
‘Nothing can turn the clock back but we are determined to keep supporting Andrew to ensure his family have the security they need and Andrew receives the much-needed care he also needs to continue his recovery.’
The father-of-two has also joined a shooting club for the visually impaired and is preparing to take part in a compeititon