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Fergus Falls, Minn., man recovering after arm severed in workplace accident

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FERGUS FALLS, Minn. – A Fergus Falls man is recovering in a Twin Cities hospital after a workplace accident caused his arm to be severed.

Duane Haw, 38, was airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, Minn., after he lost his arm in the accident at Northern Contours in Fergus Falls. He is in fair condition thanks to quick-thinking co-workers who were trained to respond to trauma.

Friday, workers at the plant were making components for cabinets and desktops. Those employees, fortunately for Haw, have been through safety training.

Haw's arm was ripped off after it was caught in a large router. An alarm sounded, the machine shut off and trained workers jumped to help.

"They all stepped up and one of the guys realized there was the potental for significant blood loss, so he used his belt for a tourniquet and another immediately retrieved the arm and put it on ice," vice president of human resources at Northern Contours Mary Walth said.

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All workers are trained in workplace safety and there are nine here trained as first responders, in CPR and first aid, with a few on each shift. That turned out to be life-saving.

"We are 160 people here and know each other and we are family," Walth said.

OSHA investigators were on site Friday in Fergus Falls. North Contours CEO Larry Skow said the company's safety program is award-winning, but there are always changes to be made to insure employees can react and prevent tragic accidents.

"Despite how much we train, it is not just being prepared but being prepared for when something difficult happens," Skow said.

Haw's family said that he is awake and communicating with friends.

Related Topics: FERGUS FALLS
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