Man trapped for 15 minutes in sawing machine after arm amputated 

A man who was dragged into a timber sawing machine which amputated his right arm remained trapped and calling for help for 15 minutes in a Kerry factory, the High Court has heard
Man trapped for 15 minutes in sawing machine after arm amputated 

Father of two Andrzej Stefanowicz from Castelmaine, Co Kerry, suffered a devastating injury which must attract high damages, his counsel told the court. Picture: iStock

A man who was dragged into a timber sawing machine which amputated his right arm remained trapped and calling for help for 15 minutes in a Kerry factory, the High Court has heard.

Father of two Andrzej Stefanowicz from Castelmaine, Co Kerry, suffered a devastating injury which must attract high damages, his counsel told the court.

His counsel Padraig McCartan SC told Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy it is their case that the carpenter developed post-traumatic stress disorder after the accident and was “totally devastated” by it.

Counsel said it is also their case that a pull cord which should have stopped the machine “did not work on this occasion".

Mr Stefanowicz pulled the cord to stop the machine but it did not work, he said.

Pulled into the machine

Counsel said Mr Stefanowicz had leaned down to adjust the saw cutting settings while the machine was running when his sleeve got caught on a redundant cog wheel and he was pulled into the machine.

“He was on his own caught in the machine for 15 minutes shouting for help. He was wedged between the shaft and the machine,” Counsel said.

Andrzej Stefanowicz, 39, Boolteens East, Castlemaine, Co Kerry, has sued Spellmans Timber Ltd, of Kilcummin, Killarney, Co Kerry, as a result of the accident on March 12, 2018.

It is claimed he was in the course of changing saw cut settings on the machine when his sleeve was caused to get caught in a cog of a wheel which was revolving and his hand and arm were dragged in. His arm was pulled fully from his shoulder and his body became wedged between the shaft and the machine.

It is claimed the changing of the saw settings on the machine was allowed to be performed in an alleged inappropriate fashion and while the machine was operative.

It is further claimed there was a failure to ensure a safety line was fully operative and that a redundant cog was allegedly caused to be unguarded and a source of risk and danger to any employees. It is also claimed there was a failure to ensure the pull cord was in good working order and adequate to stop the machine when pulled.

Liability is admitted

The court heard liability is admitted in relation to the incident but contributory negligence on the part of Mr Stefanowicz is alleged. It is claimed he allegedly failed to use his common sense and failed to have any or any adequate regard for his own safety. It is further alleged he elected to make adjustments to the machine while it was operating.

Mr McCartan SC said Mr Stefanowicz was transferred by helicopter from Kerry to Cork University Hospital. Counsel said a decision was made not to reattach the amputated right arm.

He said Mr Stefanowicz cannot now do simple “everyday things” like buttoning his shirt and he requires his food to be cut up by his wife.

“He was right hand dominant and now feels his arm is there and sticking up in the air,” his counsel said, and told the judge Mr Stefanowicz suffers from severe phantom pains.

Counsel said it was their case it was the practice not to cut off the machine when adjusting the heads.

He said Mr Stefanowicz was pulled into the machine with some degree of force and also suffered chest trauma.

The case before Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy continues next week.

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