LifeStyle & Health

Nine years later, no justice for Boksburg man who got injured at work

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An East Rand man who lost two fingers in an injury-on-duty incident more than eight years ago is still struggling to pick up the pieces and move on.

Rudolph le Roux, from Boksburg, said his life had changed after two of his fingers were amputated in 2014. He worked at the Snow Soft SA factory which made toilet paper.

“They had a 19-something [year-old] machine that wasn’t safe. We put the paper through, when something went wrong. The next moment my hand got caught in the rollers.

“I had to stand there for a halfhour while they disassembled the rollers and belts to free my hand.”

Le Roux said he was still in pain.

“My hand will never be the same again.”

He said he was victimised at work after the accident, and later laid off.

“The company also hired an attorney who made it impossible to continue with the claim because they didn’t respond to e-mails or other communications.

“Nine years long, they have delayed the case and, to date, nothing,” he said.

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His wife and in-laws were supporting him because he was not working.

Snow Soft SA liaison officer Raquel White said the attorney had advised the company not to comment on the allegations as the dispute was subjudice

“Once there has been a determination, we will provide you with our comments,” she said.

After the accident, Le Roux spent more than a month in hospital. “My one finger was pitch-black and had to be removed immediately. My middle finger was amputated after they discharged me for Christmas.

“The doctor gave us the option of keeping the middle finger but said, because the blood flows one way, they would eventually have to amputate it.”

Now, Le Roux only has three fingers on his right hand and has had to relearn everyday tasks.

“There are times I struggle but I’ve learned to adapt. I don’t feel sorry for myself or give up, I just try,” he said.

He used to work on cars and used hammers. Now, using a drill is a challenge. He sometimes has to alternate between hands to get the task done. Le Roux did receive a payout from the Workmen’s Compensation Fund of R39 500 after the accident.

“Which was ridiculous. That’s why I took on the employers, because they knew the machine was unsafe and did nothing about it.”

Le Roux has struggled to keep a job because his hand doesn’t work any more.

“Employers are concerned, that I might get injured again, so I don’t get employed,” he said.

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