A worker loses a phalanx at work near Caen: was the employer responsible?

A worker from a company in Bretteville-sur-Odon, near Caen (Calvados), lost a phalanx in a work accident: the company was tried on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. (©Adobe Stock-anon/Illustration.)

In May 2017, an industrial accident occurred within a Bretteville-sur-Odon, near Caen (Calvados). Seriously injured in a hand, a worker loses a phalanx. In question, the company was tried before the Caen correctional court on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, so that its responsibilities could be determined. The company had to answer for “unintentional injuries”, “provision of work equipment that does not allow safety to be preserved”, “failure to comply with risk prevention rules”, “change of position without prior training” and ” no updating of documents concerning the assessment of occupational risks ”. The president of the company appeared before the judges.

Severed phalanx

The company in question specializes in repair, maintenance of electrical equipment, production of motors. Its customers are aeronautics, aerospace, SNCF, the arsenal of Cherbourg as well as individuals. In May 2017, Frédéric * was hired there on a trial basis.

On the day of the accident, his job was to paint an engine. In order to be able to paint the other side, he hangs it on a rod in the form of a hook. But the engine stalls. While trying to catch up with him, Frédéric has his hand crushed by a weight of about sixty kilos. One phalanx is severed. The transplant that will be attempted will not take. He will be prescribed 100 days of incapacity for work and 300 rehabilitation sessions.

The labor inspectorate finds violations

The investigation carried out by the labor inspector revealed several infringements: the worker was not trained for this position; the artisanal rod, used, was not a suitable device; there was no indication of the loads she could bear. The risk assessment document had not been updated, as required by the labor code.

Frédéric’s manager would have given him this job to do because he had an urgent task to do. “Management pushes to change jobs without being trained,” he explained to the labor inspectorate. The hook was not suitable for hooking up this load, but no lifting device was available ”. What corroborates the victim present at the hearing:

I wanted to get a permanent contract, so I did as I was asked. It had to be over today. We were pressured as usual. I felt in my corner, on my own. The only bullshit I did was get my hands on it when it got off the hook.

The victims

Defense seeks release

All this, the president of the company, present at the bar, has difficulty understanding. “There was no delay, no notion of urgency, why talk about pressure? “. The prosecutor, by requesting a 10,000 euros fine, retains that the employee had neither the training nor the right tools.

Maître Gabriel Sibout, the defense lawyer, first points out the impact that this accident may have had on the entrepreneur. “It is a paralyzed man who comes before you. He started as a worker, manual labor, he knows. He is fully aware of the seriousness of his employee’s injuries ”. The lawyer believes that the labor inspector made mistakes. By presenting the object to the judges of the court, he pleads:

It is said that there was no lifting device but the motor did not need to be suspended since there was a trolley. And anyway, this rod could not withstand such a load, just look at it. It was intended to hang small pieces and the victim could not ignore it because this job he had already done. For proof I want the invoice sheets on which appear the initials of the workers who carried out the tasks.

Master Gabriel SiboutLawyer for the implicated company.

He demanded the release of the company. The court will deliver its decision on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

* Loan first name.

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