There are several things we’re often told when working with machinery. Wear goggles, don’t wear loose clothing and always turn it off immediately if something gets stuck are a few examples. One thing I’ve never heard, however, is wear a cup. But after hearing the story of Edgardo Toucet, that may change.
Toucet was hired through a temp agency to work at a carpet factory. His job was operating something called a peeler machine that was designed to cut foam. But peeler machine took on a whole new meaning when due to what he claims in his subsequent lawsuit were unsafe working conditions, the thing, um, peeled his grapes.
Toucet’s penis and testicles were completely severed by the spinning blade in January 2010.
As the company that leased out Toucet, it was Spartan’s responsibility to ensure his safety, the suit contends. Instead, Spartan and its employee named in the suit, Barbara Pridgen, allegedly led him into a dangerous work environment. The blade, called a peeler machine, had no safety guard, the suit claims, because it was intentionally removed before Toucet used it. The suit also alleges that the machine’s emergency off-switch worked only occasionally.
If you can still read through your tears, it’s worth noting that Toucet, who spoke no English when he was hired, claims that he was only given instructions in broken English and through the use of some hand signals. He also claims that other employees had had similar accidents on the same machine.
Admit it, you’re trying to think of a good hand signal joke right now.
A lawsuit against Future Foam Carpet Cushion Company where the accident occurred was dismissed, but Toucet and his lawyer say they expect better results this time around.
Unless they can prove that all of this was somehow his fault, the right thing for these companies to do would be to settle and throw the guy a bone. He could certainly use it.
Oh, and also worth noting: the author of the linked story? Ron Dicker.