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October 2013

Safety Notes

Accident Report

Incident | Struck by broken glass
Business | Glass fabrication
Employee | Glass cutter

Two glasscutters, Jore and Garcia, had just finished cutting the 12th piece of a 23-piece, quarter-inch plate glass order on a CNC cutting table. The piece measured 61 5/8 inches by 80 7/16 inches and weighed 105 pounds.

Attached to the side of the table was a rubber roller that the company installed to help the employees lift large pieces of cut glass.

The two workers separated the cut piece and pulled it toward them. As they started to lift the glass, Jore heard a "popping" sound. He released his side of the piece and stepped back from the table.

The glass broke into two pieces. The upper piece fell on the CNC table and the lower piece dropped to the floor. Jore noticed that Garcia was holding his neck. He asked him if he was OK, then helped him around the table to the first-aid box. Garcia had trouble standing and leaned against the table as blood rushed from a cut in his neck.

Jore tried to find gauze in the first-aid box but there wasn't any. He picked up the two-way radio and said he needed help because Garcia was badly cut.

Another worker came running to the CNC table with a box of towels. Jore put them around the cut and applied pressure. The lead maintenance worker rushed over and together they laid Garcia on the table. He told Garcia to put his head down as he applied pressure to the laceration.

The production manager called 911 and emergency responders arrived about six minutes later; they assessed the injury and called for a LifeFlight helicopter, which took Garcia to a nearby hospital where his injury was stabilized. Then he was flown to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland and admitted to the intensive care unit.

Two weeks later, Garcia was released from the hospital, although his swollen neck and throat prevented him from speaking for another week. He told an interviewer that when the glass broke, there was a piece in his right hand and he thought the force of the break caused the glass to come back towards him and cut his neck. He said he was not able to step back from the glass because the company-installed roller and an emergency stop control box were directly behind him.

Applicable standards

437-002-0022(2) Plant Arrangement – Provisions for safety, such as adequate work and storage space, must be included in plant design, layout, and operation.

Editor's note: The workers' names have been changed to protect their identities.

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