Machine’s Saw Malfunctions, Leads to Partial Amputation

A 60-year-old was working on an edge-banding machine while working for his bosses cabinetry business. This machine acts as a conveyer belt while pieces of wood move along the edging device with hot bonding material, equipped with built-in saw blades.

The machine is equipped with an interlock device so that it would turn off when the hood is raised, but the safety switch was bypassed, resulting in the blade continuing to run.

This man was trying to adjust the machine’s safety hood, but did not manually turn off the saw blades, and they contacted his left hand. He was left with traumatic amputations of his middle, ring, and pinky fingers, as well as a partial amputation of his thumb.

Both his middle and ring fingers were reattached, but they became infected, and the surgeons were forced to amputate his ring finger. Now, his middle finger is shortened and does not bend.

Although the injuries occurred on his non-dominant hand, he is left with partial disability, incurring over $163,200 in past medical expenses, in addition to around $20,000 past lost earnings annually. He did not claim future medical expenses or future lost earnings.

The man and his wife sued the company who manufactured the machine, as well as the U.S. company that imported and sold the machine. The case settled for $100,000 with the U.S. company that imported the machine, and $470,000 after jury deliberations for the company that sold it to the man’s employer.

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