The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that almost 5,200 work-related fatalities occurred nationwide in 2016, and millions more in Arizona and other states suffered injuries. Many of the injured victims suffered traumatic amputations. A welder in another state whose hands were both amputated in a preventable accident now spends his time warning others to comply with safety regulations.
While holding up his prosthetic arms for all to see, his message is clear. He explains to other workers how he lost his hands in 2007 when he was employed as a welder in a manufacturing facility. He recalls how co-workers who were busy shredding drywall in a special shredder called him over and asked is help to clear a blockage while the shredder was running. He says although he knew that it was wrong to do this without switching the machine off, he still went ahead and stuck his hands in the machine.
He says another worker was doing the same thing, and as he was about to say it was too dangerous, the working parts of the machine snagged both his arms, and they were amputated above the elbows. He also lost his career but says he gained a new purpose. It is to keep on reminding businesses and employees what can happen when safety regulations are violated. He also underscores the fact that such an accident affects not only the victim but also his or her family and children.
Victims of traumatic amputations in workplace accidents in Arizona might find comfort in knowing that legal recourse is available. With the support and guidance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, benefits claims can be filed. Those whose injuries caused permanent disabilities might be eligible to additional benefits that include vocational rehabilitation. This could equip amputation victims with new skills that will enable them to re-enter the workforce in a job that will accommodate their disabilities.