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Teenager has arm severed by pasta machine

Life is full of hazards, and the workplace is no exception to this rule. You don’t have to be working in construction or at an industrial facility to be at risk of serious injury. Various forms of work injury can occur even when performing everyday tasks, such as moving heavy boxes, cleaning or operating machinery. Employees in New Jersey should try to stay alert at work to avoid the risk of injury.

Meanwhile, in New York, a 17-year-old restaurant employee is in a serious condition after having his arm severed by a pasta-making machine. The teenager was cleaning the machine at Violi’s Restaurant in Massena when the incident occurred, removing his right arm from the elbow down. Occupational Safety and Health Administration have sent an investigator to establish whether the restaurant was in violation of any safety standards.

One matter under contention is whether there was a breach of child labor laws as employees are required by law to be 18 years of age to operate the machine. However, it is yet to be established whether cleaning the machine constitutes operating it. A restaurant manager has started an online fundraiser, as have members of the young man’s friends and family. The two fundraising drives each have a $50,000 target.

The teenager has already been through one round of surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in a bid to reattach his arm. The 12½ hour procedure used arteries and veins from the teenager’s right leg. He is now on blood thinners and facing several more surgeries to complete the reconstruction. However, surgeons warn that there remains a 30 percent chance of the arm requiring amputation if its blood flow is lost.

Though it happened out of state, New Jersey employees should still take note. Accidents like this can be life-changing and the victims may face extreme medical expenses and permanent disability. If you have been involved in such an incident, you may want to look into claiming workers’ compensation. An attorney may be able to help you establish what you are entitled to and challenge your employer for a fair settlement.

Source: Watertown Daily Times, "Federal investigators probe Massena restaurant accident," Katie Anderson, April 29, 2014

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