Compared to jobs in construction and law enforcement, most people do not regard working in a kitchen as extremely dangerous. However, whenever a job requires use of heavy or small equipment, there is the risk of a serious machine accident. Recently, one Philadelphia chef found out the hard way that kitchen work indeed comes with its own hazards. On Mother’s Day, 2017, the seasoned chef got his hand caught in a pasta machine, crushing his fingers and keeping him out of the kitchen indefinitely.
The chef of Philadelphia restaurant, Le Virtu, and co-owner of Brigantessa, was trying out a new pasta recipe in the basement pantry of one of his restaurants. When the dough got stuck, the chef reached into the mechanized pasta sheeter to loosen it. That is when his hand became wedged in the machine. He described the horrific sound as a handful of popcorn exploding.
Because the injured chef was in the basement below a loud and crowded dining room, no one heard his calls for help. He eventually managed to kick his shoe off and use it to hit the Siri button on his phone. He told Siri to call 911.
Even after help arrived, it took some time for paramedics to determine the safest way to dislodge his hand. They tried opening the machine manually, using a hydraulic separator to pry the pieces apart, and even used a scaled-down version of the Jaws of Life to cut through the metal – but nothing worked.
Finally, the paramedics decided the only option was to reverse the direction of the pasta sheeter. The approach worked and the victim was rushed to the Hand Center at nearby Jefferson Hospital where the bones in his fingers were reattached. Future surgeries are planned to reconnect some of the badly damaged nerves in his hand.
Once the renowned chef has recovered from the machine accident well enough to return to his restaurants, he will do so on modified duty. He plans to start with non-physical tasks such as ordering and paperwork. Doctors believe he can eventually go back to cooking one day.
Caught In/Between Accidents
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identifies caught in/between accidents as some of the most common causes of serious workplace injuries. Regardless of the size of the machinery, any time a body part gets caught in heavy machinery, the results can be disastrous.
When it comes to smaller equipment like the pasta sheeter, a few basic safety precautions can prevent machine accidents like the one that nearly cost the victim his hand. Kitchen workers and any employees working with machinery should be familiar with where the pull-in, pinch, or crush points are located. All machinery should be shut down before repairs or inspections. Workers should wear close-fitting garments and avoid jewelry, long hair, strings, or anything else that can get caught in moving parts.
Machine accidents are just that – accidents. Kitchen workers that become caught-in or between dangerous equipment can suffer injuries that last a lifetime. Fortunately, employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Jeffrey S. Gross Fights for Those Who Have Been Injured in a Machine AccidentThe Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the law office of Jeffrey S. Gross are highly experienced in handling the most complicated Workers’ Compensation cases and will fight to recover the maximum compensation for your injuries. Schedule a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer in Philadelphia by calling 267-589-0090 or 215-512-1500 or contact us online. Jeffrey S. Gross and his team serve clients throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.