Workplace accidents often happen in seconds. A worker is operating a machine or feeding metal or wood into the machine when suddenly, the machine traps an arm or leg. Quick action is often the difference between life and death when a workplace accident occurs. Two Rockland police officers have been credited with taking quick action that saved the life of a machine operator whose arm had been severed by the machine he was operating.

The two officers responded to a 911 call at about 5:50 a.m. from National Coating Corporation, saying that a machine operator was operating a machine when suddenly, his arm got caught in the gears. The gears pulled the man toward the machine and severed his arm. When police arrived, they found the 66-year-old worker sitting on a chair with a large pool of blood on the floor.

The officers had the presence of mind to grab the first aid kit from their cruiser. The kit contained a tourniquet, and one of the officers used the tourniquet to stop the bleeding. After the bleeding was largely stopped, the worker was taken by ambulance to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth and then to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Police said that the man was in stable condition and expected to survive his injury. The Rockland Chief of Police commended the two officers for their fast action. Had the officers not acted rapidly to apply the tourniquet, the worker could have bled to death.

The worker in this case was very fortunate that the two police officers knew what to do. He is also fortunate because Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation system will provide benefits that will pay for his medical expenses and lost wages and for any disability caused by the loss of his arm.