Wigan native Karen Schoelzel, from Golborne, had been employed by Arrow Flexible Packaging Ltd when the fifty three year old suffered her work injury, personal injury claims experts say. At the time of the accident, Ms Schoelzel had been attempting to perform maintenance on a plastic bag handle punch machine by replacing a rubber insert on the piece of machinery.
However, the cutting machine suddenly began operating as she was doing so, which resulted in her left hand coming into contact with it. The unfortunate worker completely lost her index finger in the incident, while her middle finger was severed just above the first knuckle by the machinery.
Shortly thereafter, the Government’s Health and Safety Executive investigated the grisly incident. The HSE discovered that the machine’s safety guards, which would have prevented access to the moving parts of the machine, were not in place, and that it was standard procedure to replace rubber inserts on the machine without isolating it first.
The HSE’s investigation was not able to discover how the machinery had been engaged. However it did state that the buttons on the machine were unsuitable and that they could have been activated accidentally.
Nearly 5,000 manufacturing industry workers sustained serious injuries at work, according to industry figures. Many of these injured workers have since gone on to make work accident claims against their employers, and while it is not yet known if Ms Schoelzel has taken legal advice, industry experts predict that she may be in the process of doing so currently.