Georgina De Bruyn, 55, cut off her fingers while operating a circular saw at a Tannum Sands business.
Georgina De Bruyn, 55, cut off her fingers while operating a circular saw at a Tannum Sands business.

Woman wants $1.3m from employer for new fingers

A WOMAN who cut off two of her own fingers while operating a circular drop saw at work is now suing her employers for more than $1.3 million.

Georgina De Bruyn, 55, wants a robotic prosthesis.

Georgina De Bruyn was a fabricator at Simmons Glass and Aluminium at Tannum Sands between 2005-2012.

On March 20, 2012, Ms De Bruyn claims she was using a drop saw to cut aluminium when the blade hit her left hand, amputating her index and middle fingers.

She was taken to Gladstone Hospital for surgery, where staff were able to reattach her partially severed thumb.

Over the next 18 months she required two more surgeries followed by extensive hand therapy.

Court documents describe "a significant disfigurement of her left hand, which causes her embarrassment and is a constant reminder of the incident".

Ms De Bruyn is claiming more than $1.3 million in damages, including more than $124,000 for the trial and supply of a robotic prosthesis.

Court documents claim the business had allocated her a volume of work that required her to work at an unsafe speed, and they failed to provide a saw with a proper guard or switching mechanism.

The documents also claimed the business failed to train her in safe operation of the saw, failed to supervise her or provide her with sufficient assistance, and failed to warn her that she needed to make sure her hand was not in the path of the blade.

But the owner of Simmons Glass and Aluminium, Zach Simmons, said those claims had already been dispelled by Work Cover in the days after the incident.

"It's a bit hurtful this has gone so far," Mr Simmons said.

"Obviously we feel for her. She was a long term employee who was appreciated for her work.

"Work cover has inspected all our equipment. They found it meets Australian standards."

Ms De Bruyn now wears a cosmetic prosthesis, which does not provide functional assistance, and often wears a glove.

She says she still suffers a sharp pain up her arm if her hand knocks anything.


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