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The injury occurred when the worker was checking the dust collection bin and his arm was positioned near an airlock, a device which trapped and deposited dust into a collection bin by use of high-speed, rotating blades. He has endured several surgical reconstruction procedures and regained only partial use of his arm.
The dust collection system had been recently purchased by the employer and was designed, manufactured and distributed by Lewis M. Carter, Jr. West, Inc. The manufacturer had failed to incorporate a guard which protected workers from the blades or warn workers of the dangerous condition. The manufacturer was aware that the airlock was an amputation hazard to the employees, but attempted to absolve itself of responsibility to provide a guard or warning by delegating the responsibility to provide necessary safety protection by use of a disclaimer in the owner’s manual. As a consequence of the failure of the manufacturer to undertake reasonable safety measures, the cabinet worker’s arm was pulled into the airlock and nearly severed. Following the injury, the employer took the necessary steps to install a guard and warning so as to prevent any future injury. In discovery, the manufacturer admitted that it, in fact, had a designed guard for the airlock, but failed to install it on this model.
The value of the settlement exceeded $1 million, plus lifetime medical expenses for future medical treatment. As a consequence of the settlement and ongoing medical treatment, the client is undergoing necessary vocational rehabilitation and hopes to reenter the job force in an even better paying career.