Machine operator loses left leg in plant accident

Newsday By RHONDOR DOWLAT Friday, January 8 2010

PAPER MILL: The plant of Trinidad Tissues Limited in Malabar, Arima, where operator Anand Parag lost his left leg yesterday.

A 21-YEAR-OLD employee lost his left leg yesterday when he slipped into a machine at a toilet paper manufacturing plant at O’Meara Industrial Estate in Arima.

After spending 90 minutes trapped in the machine, operator Anand Parag of Biche was freed after fire officials from the Arima Fire Station responded and were able to cut the machine with the ‘jaws of life’. The incident occurred shortly after 1pm.

Parag, who lost his left leg from the hip, was taken to the Arima District Hopsital where he was treated for several hours. Up to press time, medical officials at the facility were attempting to stabilise him as he reportedly “went into shock”.

Officials at the company — Trinidad Tissues Limited, formerly, Unicell Paper Mills (Caribbean) Limited, currently referred to as Canadian-based Grand Bay International (Trinidad) refused to comment on the incident. When Newsday visited the factory site, the security guards said they had been instructed to close the massive steel gates.

Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) representative, Gajadhar Inniss, claimed the company refused to give them a status report on Parag’s condition.

“Up to present, management had refused to meet with us although they know we still represent the workers employed at the factory. Subsequent to the incident we called and spoke to a Mrs Maraj who said she could not give us a report. She referred us to a Mr Murray and up to now we can’t even get in contact with him to find out how Anand is doing,” Inniss said.

However, workers at the company claimed that for years and even in recent times they have complained to management about the machine being “very unsafe” and demanded they implement safety measures.

In 2006, workers said, Nigel Samaroo, who then was aged 24, was operating the machine when he slipped into it. Up to this day, Samaroo remains paralysed. Officers of the Arima Police Station are investigating.

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