A worktop manufacturer has been fined after an employee had to have two fingers amputated when they came into contact with an unguarded cutting blade.
The 28-year-old can no longer play the guitar , use a keyboard or tie his shoelaces as a result of the incident at Worktop Fabrications Ltd on 25 June 2012. He was unable to work for seven months and may require further surgery.
He was operating an edge banding machine when his hand came into contact with a blade that is used to create the finished edges on worktops.
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard today that he had been working for the company for 13 weeks as an agency employee but had been made permanent on the day of the incident.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the machine had three sections, each enclosed by an interlocked hood. The hoods should have been lowered , forming an effective guard, but, according to the company, the interlocks were disconnected and replaced with locks and keys in 2008 or 2009. The keys were left in the hoods, meaning the machine was able to run with the hood guards open.
Worktop Fabrications Ltd, of Wingate Close, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was today (9 Jan) fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,574.
After the hearing HSE inspector Judith McNulty-Green said:
“This man’s painful and life-changing injuries were borne out of a catalogue of failings on the part of Worktop Fabrications Ltd.
“In 2010, a year or so after the company thinks the interlock was removed, it undertook a risk assessment of the machine to identify whether the health and safety risks associated with its operation were being properly managed. That assessment failed to identify the machine was unguarded, so no steps were taken to correct the problem.
“The risks associated with cutting machinery are well known in the industry, and so are the measures that should be taken to minimise or remove those risks.”
Notes to Editors
- The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken which are effective to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.
- HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk