Robot-Hand Demanded by Injured Worker in Compensation For On-The-Job Accident

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Georgina de Bruyn was cutting aluminum with a circular drop saw back in March of 2012 when the blade severed her left index and middle fingers, leaving her with a “severe disfigurement of her left hand, which causes her embarrassment and is a constant reminder of the incident,” according to a lawsuit she has filed. The former metal fabricator is claiming $1.3 million in damages, a large portion of which will be used to pay for robotic finger replacements.

As stated in court documents, de Bruyn claims that her employer — Simmons Glass and Aluminum — demanded she do her work at unsafe speeds. She also claims that her employer failed to provide a saw with a proper guard or switching mechanism. Simmons Glass and Aluminum, she also asserts, failed to supervise her or provide her with sufficient assistance.

She says that her employer should have warned her that she needed to make sure her hand was not in the path of the blade.

Because she didn’t realize she had to move her hand away from the powerful blade, de Bruyn now wears a cosmetic prosthesis that provides no functional assistance. She also purports to suffer a sharp pain up her arm if her hand knocks anything.

In compensation, she is asking for $1.3 million in damages, more than $124,000 of which will be used for the trial, and some of which will help outfit her with replacement robotic fingers.

Her employer, on the other hand, disagrees. In the United States, there’s the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which mandates that severe workplace-accidents be reported within 24 hours, and if something happens to the victim within 30 days of the accidents, it again must be reported. In Australia, there’s WorkCover, which manages the South Australian Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme and provides protection to workers and employers in the event of workplace injury.

Despite her claims, WorkCover has already inspected Simmons Glass and Aluminum’s equipment, and found it to be up to Australia’s standards.

“It’s a bit hurtful this has gone so far,” said Zach Simmons, the owner of Simmons Glass and Aluminium. “Obviously we feel for her. She was a long term employee who was appreciated for her work. WorkCover has inspected all our equipment. They found it meets Australian standards.”

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