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Firm in court after employee suffers hand injuries

A company which manufactures components for automobiles has been in court after an employee suffered horrific hand injuries in an incorrectly-guarded machine.

What happened?

The 56-year-old employee had been operating a 160-tonne power press at RSM Industries Ltd’s factory when the incident happened last May.

He had been removing finished pieces of metal from the machine, when he hit the foot pedal accidentally and the machine began to run.

His right hand was crushed and, as a result of the accident, he had to have three and a half fingers removed and half of his palm amputated.

An investigation into the incident found the machine had had new guards fitted, but the interlock preventing the press from operating if the guards were not fully closed, hadn’t been correctly adjusted and set.

Additionally, the company’s routine checks had failed to pick up any fault with the guards on 12 separate occasions.

What was the outcome?

RSM Industries Ltd was fined £8,000 with £11,300 costs, after pleading guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE principal inspector, Sue Thompson, said:

“The worker suffered life-changing injuries. He spent 35 hours in
surgery undergoing seven different operations and is now
severely disabled with the loss of his dominant hand.
He has not been able to return to work and is
still receiving treatment.

“Yet this incident was entirely preventable had the company thoroughly
examined the machine before it was brought back into use and
carried out adequate daily checks. The fact the fault
was missed a dozen different times shows a
complete lack of diligence.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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