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Medical manufacturer fined after two workers sustained hand injuries

A West Sussex firm that manufactures medical equipment has landed in court after two of its workers were injured by dangerous parts of machinery.

What happened?

In 2011 one of the firm’s employees was left with a fractured finger after he attempted to make adjustments to material on a lamination line. His hand was pulled between two rollers because there was no guarding in place to prevent him from accessing the moving parts.

The firm was served with two improvement notices requiring action to be taken to ensure that the standards of guarding around potentially dangerous machines were raised to an acceptable level.

However, in 2013 a second worker sustained bruising and cuts to her hand after she trapped it between a fixed and a moving part while trying to clear a blockage.

The Health and Safety Executive found that interlocks on the machine had been overridden, which had become common practice at Welland Medical and was effectively endorsed by the company.

What was the outcome?

Welland Medical Ltd admitted two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined a total of £8,000 and ordered to pay £6,820 in costs.

HSE inspector Stephen Green said:

“Although the injuries sustained to these workers were relatively minor,
they could have been much worse. This type of incident is still far
too common despite the fact that workers have lost limbs, been
disabled and, in the most severe cases, even lost their life
because of inadequate or missing guarding.

“Both incidents were easily avoidable. Guards had been removed on the
first occasion and interlocked guards were overridden in the second.
Taking guarding away from machines or overriding systems to allow
access to dangerous parts should be only carried out with
considerable planning and with alternative safe systems
of work in place to protect workers. It must not be
routine, as was the case here.”

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 claims@hampsonhughes.com

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