Wigan engineer needs facial reconstruction surgery after freak industrial accident
A 70-year-old Wigan engineer has undergone reconstructive surgery after being struck in the face by an object hurled out of a machine he was working on.
John Cunliffe, from Pemberton-based firm Atec, was commissioning a piece of machinery at Arthur Stephenson Engineering in Atherton, when the freak accident happened.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is investigating the incident on the afternoon of Friday September 9 at the Bag Lane premises.
It has been reported that Mr Cunliffe was working on the machine known as a vertical borer, and when it was started up and began rotating, some kind of solid projectile was flung out of it and struck him in the face.
He was taken by ambulance to Wigan Infirmary but later transferred to Manchester Royal Infirmary for an operation.
Mr Cunliffe was discharged on Sunday and is now recovering at home.
His wife Margaret told Wigan Today that he has no recollection of the incident and no-one is leaping to conclusions about what happened.
She added: “There is a saying that all accidents can be avoided but I don’t believe that.
"All we know is that there was an impact involving a piece of machinery and the cause at present is unknown.
"We are open-minded and have to wait to see what comes of the inquiry.”
Mrs Cunliffe said that she and her husband were hopeful that he would make a full recovery, given time.
And she added: “We are a small company which has had a long and fruitful relationship with the factory in question.”
Toby Stephenson, a co-director of Arthur Stephenson Engineers, said: “There is an ongoing investigation into what caused the incident on Friday, so we would not want to comment further on the circumstances at this stage.”
A spokeswoman for the North West Ambulance Service confirmed that a rapid response vehicle and ambulance were both dispatched to an address in Bag Lane, Atherton, at 1.29pm on September 9 and that he was taken to Wigan Infirmary.
The HSE has been contacted for a statement but, at the time of publication, it had yet to reply.