Man who lost arm in timber sawing machine settles High Court action

Judge says the circumstances in which the injury to father of two Andrzej Stefanowicz occurred were “truly horrific”
Man who lost arm in timber sawing machine settles High Court action

Ann O’Loughlin

A man who sued after his right arm was amputated when he was dragged into a timber sawing machine has settled his High Court action.

The circumstances in which the injury to father of two Andrzej Stefanowicz occurred, Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy said, were “truly horrific” and she hoped in the future he will be able to find an occupation suitable to him.

The judge was told the settlement was based on a liability apportionment of 75 per cent against the company and 25 per cent against Mr Stefanowicz .

His counsel at the opening of the case had told the court the carpenter had suffered a devastating injury which must attract high damages.

Padraig McCartan SC said it was their case that Mr Stefanowicz from Castlemaine, Co Kerry developed post-traumatic stress disorder after the accident in a Killarney factory and was “totally devastated” by it.

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

Cord

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

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 had sued Spellmans Timber Ltd, of Kilcummin, Killarney, Co Kerry as a result of the accident on March 12th, 2018.

It was 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.

Saw settings

It was 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 was 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 was also claimed there was a failure to ensure the pull cord was in good working order and adequate to stop the machine when pulled.

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

On the second day of the hearing Padraig McCartan SC told the court the case had been settled and could be struck out.

Noting the settlement Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy wished Mr Stefanowicz and his family well.

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