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Devastating injury Dad-of-two seeks damages after losing right arm in timber sawing machine

Padraig McCartan SC told Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy it is their case that the carpenter developed post-traumatic stress disorder after the accident and was “totally devastated” by it

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Andrzej Stefanowicz leaving the High Court. Photo: Collins

Andrzej Stefanowicz leaving the High Court. Photo: Collins

Andrzej Stefanowicz leaving the High Court. Photo: Collins

A man lost his right arm after he was dragged into a factory's timber sawing machine and remained trapped for 15 minutes, the High Court heard.

Father of two Andrzej Stefanowicz suffered a devastating injury which must attract high damages, his counsel said.

Padraig McCartan SC told Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy it is their case that the carpenter developed post-traumatic stress disorder after the accident 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.”

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.

Mr Stefanowicz,(39) Boolteens East, Castlemaine, Co Kerry, has sued Spellmans Timber Ltd, of Kilcummin, Killarney, Co Kerry as a result of the accident on March 12, 2018.

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.

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 is 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.

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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 is admitted in relation to the incident but contributory negligence on the part of Mr Stefanowicz is alleged.

It is claimed he failed to use his common sense and allegedly failed to have any or any adequate regard for his own safety. It is further alleged he elected to make adjustments to the machine which it was operating.

After he was transferred by helicopter from Kerry to Cork University Hospital, Counsel said, a decision was made not to reattach the amputated right arm. He said Mr Stefanowicz cannot now do simple “everyday things” like buttoning his shirt and he requires his food to be cut up by his wife.

“He was right hand dominant and now feels his arm is there and sticking up in the air,” his counsel said and told the judge Mr Stefanowicz suffers from severe phantom pains.

Counsel said Mr Stefanowicz came to live in Ireland in 2005 and started work at the Kerry factory in 2013.

The case continues next week.

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