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Engineer sues for £200k after near amputation of his arm at factory

PUBLISHED: 13:07 06 December 2019

The Smurfit Kappa factory on Fishergate in Norwich. Picture: Evelyn Simak/Geograph

The Smurfit Kappa factory on Fishergate in Norwich. Picture: Evelyn Simak/Geograph

Evelyn Simak

An engineer whose arm was almost sliced off by machinery at a packaging company factory is suing for compensation of more than £200,000.

The horrific accident happened three years ago as Paul Massingham investigated a conveyor belt on a stacker line at Smurfit Kappa's factory at Fishergate in Norwich.

Mr Massingham, 65, of Ling Road in Palgrave, near Diss, needed an 11 hour operation and surgeons at Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital took skin from his right thigh to wrap around his arm.

He underwent two more operations, and now finds that his arm weak and painful and that his right leg is also weak as a result of the surgical removal of skin and flesh.

A writ recently issued at London's High Court says that as his left hand and arm went into a gap between the down stacker and a beam, the down stacker came up and sliced through his arm, severely injuring it.

His employers, Liverpool-based Smurfit Kappa, have admitted liability for the accident in November 2016, according to the writ, but the two sides cannot agree the compensation he should receive.

His writ brands the company negligent, and says it caused the stacker to cut through his arm, failed to ensure it did not move while he was under the conveyor belt and failed to ensure the machine was properly isolated.

It also says they failed to provide adequate stop controls, failed to warn him the stacker would move and injure him, and failed to give him enough lighting.

The company is also accused of failing to design the machine in a way that it would not move during maintenance, failing to ensure it was guarded, exposing him to a trap and hazard, and failing to provide him with a safe place of work.

Mr Massingham he had planned to work as an engineering supervisor until he was 70 but fears he may now have to retire earlier than he planned, says the writ.

His arm and leg are badly scarred and he finds his walking is restricted and has problems using stairs, as well as pain in his leg which is hypersensitive. He has also developed depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Despite this it adds that he managed to return to light work in July 2017, before increasing this to three days a week, and he is now working four days a week.

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