Employees in Fort Collins may be appalled to learn of a new workplace accident that has left a 50-year-old man permanently disabled. What makes this story even worse is that his injuries were completely preventable, but, because of someone’s tampering, he ended up losing his left arm. It is still somewhat unclear who is responsible for bypassing a safety sensor, but it was that act that caused a paper baler to sever the employee’s arm.
The accident happened when the 50-year-old was working in an occupational therapy program. The program had been partnering with a recycling company and used a paper baler and industrial compactor. It appears the man had his left arm inside of the loading gate, which should have shut down the compactor, when it started running and cut his arm off. The paper he had been loading into the compactor was supposed to be transported to a local paper mill.
The man had been a part of the occupational therapy program because he had been diagnosed with mild mental retardation, meaning that there should have been even closer supervision and there certainly should not have been deactivated safety equipment on the baler. Sadly, these mistakes cost this man his arm and left him with a permanent disability.
The program’s workers’ compensation insurance covered all of the man’s medical costs following the accident, but he ended up filing a lawsuit against the owner of the baler and the occupational therapy program. The jury awarded him more than $6 million.
Source: Midland Reporter-Telegram, “Jury awards $6M to man whose arm was severed in workplace accident,” July 27, 2012
If you are interested in learning more about workplace accidents and permanent disability, please visit our site.