Workplace horror: Doctors use toe to replace crushed thumb

AN IPSWICH man who has had to have his toe amputated and transplanted onto his hand to replace fingers crushed in an industrial accident, is speaking out about workplace safety ahead of National Safe Work Month.

Dean Reid lost his ring fingers on both hands and his right thumb when industrial rollers he was working with closed on him in May last year.

"It completely crushed my hands. None of my knuckles bend and because of the scar tissue I can't make a fist. There are many everyday things I can no longer do, even buttoning up my shirt. It's been absolutely heartbreaking for my family," Mr Reid said.

Dean Reid lost his ring fingers on both hands and his right thumb when industrial rollers he was working with closed on him in May last year.
Dean Reid lost his ring fingers on both hands and his right thumb when industrial rollers he was working with closed on him in May last year. Contributed

"I knew straight away it was bad and I went into shock pretty quick. I felt all the bones crushing, I remember hearing every crunch and grind and I knew I was stuffed. I couldn't get my hands out."

"The first operation was 24 and a half hours. I have had to have both my ring fingers and my thumb amputated. The decision to remove my toe and put it on my hand was pretty easy in the end. I was a bit spun out by it all at the start but now I have finally got to a point where I am calling it my thumb, it is my thumb now."

"It has flipped my life 180 degrees. I can't butter bread, I can't do up my shirt, I can't do up my pants. My wife has just been amazing, she has helped me so much. It's been really hard on the kids and just really difficult to deal with."

"I don't have much movement, my individual joints can't move but I can do some things better than I thought I might. I thought I might have no fingers at all.

Dean Reid lost his ring fingers on both hands and his right thumb when industrial rollers he was working with closed on him in May last year.
Dean Reid lost his ring fingers on both hands and his right thumb when industrial rollers he was working with closed on him in May last year. Contributed

"My foot has caused more problems. I have had problems with it healing and I walk with a bit of a limp. My leg has lost a bit of form and it affected my balance early on but now it is fine."

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers said October was National Safe Work Month, which was a crucial reminder to all employers about their duty of care to prevent work accidents, ensuring all workers come home safely to their loved ones at the end of each day.

"Australian businesses have a serious obligation to ensure their staff are not injured on the job," said James Goddard, Associate, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

"Dean has suffered a devastating injury and given the circumstances that lead to it in his workplace there is an ongoing investigation by Workplace Health and Safety. Because it is part of the investigation we can't say too much but it is safe to say Dean has suffered an horrific injury."

Dean Reid lost his ring fingers on both hands and his right thumb when industrial rollers he was working with closed on him in May last year.
Dean Reid lost his ring fingers on both hands and his right thumb when industrial rollers he was working with closed on him in May last year. Contributed

"He was operating a piece of machinery that flattened plastics through rollers. The machine was fitted with a safety device that would automatically shut off the rollers if it was breached. We know this safety feature wasn't working for reasons which are unclear, but despite this Dean was required use the machine and his hands have been crushed."

"This was a completely preventable injury that has had a catastrophic impact on Dean's life. Employers are responsible for providing a safe workplace, it's the law."

"Already 125 people have been killed at work this year, thousands more have been injured and the ripple effect on families and communities is devastating. Australian employers must provide a safe workplace and what has happened to Dean is an important reminder of that."

Dean Reid lost his ring fingers on both hands and his right thumb when industrial rollers he was working with closed on him in May last year.
Dean Reid lost his ring fingers on both hands and his right thumb when industrial rollers he was working with closed on him in May last year. Contributed


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