Our client worked as a laborer at ArcelorMittal’s Steelton, Pennsylvania facility, which manufactures rails for the railroad industry.
While working in the Research & Development Department, our client was using a HydMech horizontal band saw to cut a piece of rail for testing. Because of its unusual shape, our client had to reposition the work piece in the point of operation area. That way, the vise could close and properly secure the work piece. Our client moved the vise toggle switch to the pause position while he attempted to reposition the work piece. However, the vise clamps continued to close even though our client did not manipulate the toggle switch to the closed position.
The vise clamps closed crushing our client’s index and long fingers of his non-dominant left hand.
Rick Jurewicz, a Senior Attorney at Galfand Berger, handled our client’s case. Rick recognized that it was impossible to provide a universal guard for the point of operation. Instead, Rick focused on a safeguarding technique known as “guarding by location,” which manufacturers utilize in designing equipment that is difficult or impossible to guard with a traditional barrier guard.
Rick claimed that by providing a pressure sensitive two-hand control feature, that the function or utility of the equipment would not be impaired. Additionally, Rick demonstrated that several of Defendants’ competitors offered as an optional safety feature, a pedestal remote control stand that would allow workers to operate the saw in a position safely away from the point of operation area.
Rick settled the matter at mediation for $375,000.