Russell Worth Personal Injury Blog:

The life-changing impact of an amputation accident at work

Jun 27, 2018 | Personal Injury, Work Accidents

Russell Worth Personal Injury Blog:

The life-changing impact of an amputation accident at work

Losing a limb is devastating, physically and psychologically. While the physical damage becomes the focus for those affected, often the mental aspects of such a trauma go unrecognised. The reality is, to be suddenly faced with the reality of being unable to walk unaided, or to lose the use of your hands, can be extremely difficult to adjust to. Amputation accidents at work are not uncommon in the UK and some cases could easily have been avoided.

What types of amputations are there?

Amputation does not necessarily involve a whole a limb; part of a limb, or even part of a finger or toe can be removed or lost during an accident. At the other end of the scale, a whole limb and even the immediate structures may be amputated. According to UK charity, the Limbless Association, the main types of amputations include

  • Partial foot hand – including one or more toes/fingers
  • Ankle disarticulation – removal of foot at the ankle
  • Below knee (transtibial)
  • Through knee
  • Above knee (transfemoral)
  • Hip disarticulation – entire leg including the femur
  • Hemipelvectomy (transpelvic) – entire leg and part of the pelvis
  • Metacarpal – hand removed but wrist remains
  • Wrist disarticulation – removal of hand and wrist
  • Below elbow (transradial)
  • Elbow disarticulation – removal of forearm at the elbow
  • Above elbow (transhumeral)
  • Shoulder disarticulation and forequarter amputation – arm, shoulder blade, and collar bone

How can amputation accidents occur in the workplace?

For some, reading about how amputations happen to workers may be unnerving, but by understanding the primary causes and The life-changing impact of an amputation accident at workhow these can be avoided, it is possible to make workplaces safer, thus avoiding such traumatic injuries, or at least reducing their occurrence.

Amputations can happen immediately at the site of an accident, or occur later due to medical consequences, e.g. infection, tissue death due to poor blood supply, and sepsis.

Potential causes of amputation may include:

Car accidents – Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of traumatic amputation injuries. Damage is caused by the speed and force of such accidents which can lead to immediate amputation during the incident, or severe damage to part of a limb which cannot be saved.

Electrocution – Jamie Mines, a semi-professional football player and labourer had both arms and legs amputated in 2016 after being electrocuted at work. Mr Mines was holding a metal sheet which came into contact with an overhead line. The resulting 33,000-volt shock sent him flying several through the air. In October 2017, Mr Mines’ employer, Boundary Scaffolding Limited, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work and was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1415. The Managing Director was sentenced to a six-month suspended prison sentence.

Crush injuries – Crush injuries can be caused by a simple act of catching a finger in a door, a heavy item falling directly onto part of the body or becoming trapped in an item of machinery. Anthony Seward was working a night shift at Heathcoat Fabrics in Tiverton, Devon. While cleaning a roller machine, his left hand became severely crushed, which later required partial amputation. On investigation, it was discovered a broken machine safety device had not been replaced. Mr Seward’s employer was fined £300,000.

Being struck by an object – Workplaces are often full of objects which if not managed properly pose a risk to workers. Whether a falling item of construction material on a building site, pallet in a warehouse, or a moving object such as a forklift truck, there is potential for severe trauma to workers if not managed effectively. Magna Exteriors in Banbury, Oxfordshire, were fined over £80,000 when a worker was hit on his leg by a falling pallet – he required a below-knee amputation .

Severing due to machinery – Cutting machinery poses an obvious and significant risk to workers across a broad range of industries, including manufacturing, farming, and forestry. In July 2016, a worker at a Northumberland sawmill was attempting to unblock a sawing machine when he was pulled in. As a result, his trailing leg was immediately severed and amputated below the knee . The victim’s employer A & J Scott Limited, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £400,000.

Can I claim if I have been involved in an amputation accident at work?

If this has happened to you, your ability to walk, carry, lift, hold objects, write, eat, drive, and many other actions we take for granted, may all be impacted. And for many, such as injury may mean a lifetime of pain, psychological trauma, and an inability to work, play sports, and partake in activities once took for granted.

Compensation may be essential to fund your living costs (especially if you are unable to work), ongoing private medical treatment, care, counselling, home modifications, adaptive equipment, and cover for your pain and suffering.
To be successful in achieving compensation, we need to show the accident that led to your injuries was due to the negligence of your employer.

By contacting Russell Worth today, we will be able to quickly assess your case and advise if you have a valid claim for compensation. If you do, we will take on your claim on a ‘no-win-no-fee’ basis and ensure you receive a complete programme of rehabilitation, and access to expertise in prosthetic devices, if needed, to give you back as much of the functioning you
have lost as possible.

At Russell Worth Solicitors we specialise in personal injury claims. If you have suffered a workplace injury and would like a free claim assessment, please call us now on 0800 028 2060 or complete our Online Claim Assessment.

Excellent. The service was efficient from start to finish and I would not hesitate to recommend Russell Worth Solicitors to anybody who is unfortunate enough to meet with a personal injury that is not their fault.
Hilary Ann

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