Man was dragged into machine which amputated his right arm, court is told

‘He was on his own caught in the machine for fifteen minutes shouting for help’, counsel said

A carpenter who was dragged into a timber sawing machine which amputated his right arm remained trapped and calling for help for fifteen minutes, the High Court has heard.

Andrzej Stefanowicz, from Castelmaine, Co Kerry, suffered a devastating injury which must attract high damages, his counsel Padraig McCartan SC said.

Opening the case, counsel told Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy his client's case is he developed post-traumatic stress disorder after the accident and was "totally devastated" by it.

Counsel said their case also maintains that a pull cord which should stop the machine “did not work on this occasion.”


Mr Stefanowicz pulled the cord to stop the machine but it did not work he said.

Counsel said Mr Stefanowicz had leaned down to adjust the saw cutting settings while the machine was running, 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 fifteen minutes shouting for help. He was wedged between the shaft and the machine,”.

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

It is claimed the changing of the saw settings on the machine was allowed to be performed in an inappropriate fashion and while the machine was operative.

It is further claimed there was failure to ensure a safety line was fully operative and that a redundant cog was caused to be unguarded and a source of risk and danger to any employees. It is also claimed there was a failure to ensure the pull cord was in good working order.

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 to have any or any adequate regard for his own safety and elected to make adjustments to the machine when it was operating.

Mr McCartan said Mr Stefanowicz was transferred by helicopter from Kerry to Cork University Hospital and a decision was made not to reattach the amputated right arm.

He said Mr Stefanowicz cannot do simple “everyday things” like buttoning his shirt and 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.” Counsel also said Mr Stefanowicz suffers from severe phantom pains.

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

Counsel said Mr Stefanowicz was pulled into the machine with some degree of force and also suffered chest trauma.

The case continues next week.