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Worker’s severed fingers lands firm in court

A manufacturing firm in Rotherham has been fined after one of its employee’s fingers were crushed and severed in an unguarded machine.

What happened?

The 43-year-old employee was asked to work on a machine which presses lead work-pieces into required shapes at metal manufacturers, Heaps, Arnold and Heaps Ltd.

He was unaware, however, that a vital safety device had been deliberately removed from a 250-tonne press while he was away on annual leave.

Therefore, during a routine cleaning operation, he put his hand into the machine. The press then activated without warning, leaving his fingers badly crushed.

His index and middle fingers were severed, and he sustained further crush injuries to his left hand.

An investigation into the incident found that the safety mechanism had been removed deliberately so the machine could be used even when the protective guard was open.

Additionally, the investigation found that the adequate management systems had not been put in place to ensure safety relating to the required machinery guarding standards.

What was the outcome?

Heaps, Arnold and Heaps Ltd admitted to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £687 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Jane Fox, said:

“This serious injury was entirely preventable. A safety device had been
deliberately taken off with the full knowledge of management.

“There were no systems in place to check the safety of machines and this
employee was certainly not told that the machine had been
left in a dangerous condition.

“Safety devices, such as guards and interlocks, are installed on machines for
very good reason – and that is to prevent workers from coming into contact
inadvertently with dangerous moving parts. Regulations and safety
standards have been in place for many years on this issue and
are well-recognised by the majority of companies.

“Sadly, this was not the case here and an employee of long-standing now
has to endure the consequences for the rest of his life.”

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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