Polish Carpenter Receives Damages After Losing Part of Finger in Work Incident

Aug 28, 2012, 07:14 ET from Fentons Solicitors LLP

LONDON, August 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

A Polish man who lost part of one of his fingers and fractured another after being told to use machinery that was missing a protective guard, has received nearly £30,000 through his accident at work claim.

Jacek Rozanski, 57, of Mitcham, Surrey, had only recently started work as a carpenter with Battersea-based Rosso Joinery Ltd when the incident occurred in July 2010.

"I was told to use a woodcutting machine with a circular blade," said Mr Rozanski. "But because I had only been in the job for two weeks and hadn't received any training in how to use the machines safely, I wasn't aware that there should have been a protective guard in place over the blade. As I began to operate the machine, the fingers on my left hand were pulled into the path of the spinning saw.

"There was blood everywhere," he added. "I was screaming with pain and gripping my left hand with my right, shouting for help. My ring finger was very badly cut, and half the nail was missing. I couldn't move it and I could barely recognise the end of my middle finger. It just wouldn't stop bleeding. The pain was excruciating."

Mr Rozanski was taken by ambulance to St George's Hospital in Tooting where doctors amputated his middle finger below the nail and pinned his broken ring finger in place.

"When I left hospital and returned home, my wife Hanna had to help me with bathing, getting dressed and preparing meals," said Mr Rozanski. "I wasn't able to go back to work for eight weeks and only then on a part-time basis. But when I did return, I was made redundant less than two months later.

"In October 2010, I started working for a different company in North London," said Mr Rozanski. "But I was dismissed following my probation period because I worked slower than the rest of the team. It was so frustrating, as even though I'm ambidextrous, my work was a lot slower than it should have been because I have much less grip strength in my left hand, and I still had a lot of pain in my partially amputated middle finger."

Magdalena Knez, a workplace accident expert with Fentons, personal injury lawyers, who represented Mr Rozanski, said: "My client, who has been living and working in the UK for over five years now, was only two weeks into his new job. In that time he had received no training whatsoever on how to operate the woodcutting machines safely.

"When we contacted Rosso Joinery Ltd regarding Mr Rozanski's claim, their insurers initially accused him of failing to close the woodcutter's protective guard before using it and claimed he was partly responsible for his injuries as a result," added Mrs Knez, a solicitor with the firm. "My client explained to me that someone else must have removed the protective guard beforehand as there was no guard in place whatsoever when he came to use the machine.

"Tellingly, after the incident, information boards were put up on the walls with instructions detailing how to use the woodcutting machines safely," said Mrs Knez. "Furthermore, we later learned that it was common practice for employees to remove the protective guards from the machines whenever wood was being cut that was deemed too large for the spinning saws."

Mrs Knez said that Mr Rozanski's grip strength was now considerably weaker than it had been prior to his accident and that he would require surgery in the future to repair nerve damage to his middle finger. "Due to my client's injuries, he is now very limited in the type of carpentry work he is able to do," she said. "He now has far less flexibility in his injured hand, he struggles with manual tasks such as using hammers and screwdrivers and he cannot now work as fast or efficiently as a result."

SOURCE Fentons Solicitors LLP