Firm Fined Over Finger Injury

A Company Has Been Fined For Machine Safety Failings At A Plant In Derby


A waste firm has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failings at its plant in Derby, after an incident in which a member of staff lost the tips of two of his fingers.

The incident occurred in February 2013 at the Biffa Waste Services site on Victory Road in the city, when the 28-year-old man had his fingers caught in an unguarded piece of machinery as he tried to remove a piece of tape that had become entangled in the external chain drive of a sorting machine.

His glove became caught in the moving chains, which dragged his right hand into the machinery, removing the tips of his little and ring finger.

The lack of a guard on the machine was discovered by the HSE when it investigated the incident, with the external chain drive being fitted following a previous breakdown of the device, a measure that led to the machine becoming blocked frequently. In addition to this failing, the firm had not provided safety training for its staff who used the machine.

Such shortcomings led to Biffa being prosecuted for two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It admitted to these at Derby Magistrates Court on April 3rd and was fined £20,000 with £1,542 in costs.

HSE inspector Edward Walker criticised the lax attitude of the firm towards its safety responsibilities, commenting after the judgement: “The company was fully aware of the requirement for the chains to be guarded and had made arrangements for guards to be added later that week, yet still allowed the machine to be used before that happened.

“As a result, a man suffered a painful injury that could have been prevented.”

Similar incidents leading to HSE prosecutions include that of Northumberland-based Miller UK, which was fined by Bedlington Magistrates’ Court over an incident in which an employee's finger was crushed in an inadequately-guarded machine.

The incident led to the employee having to have the injured digit amputated.

Our serious injury claims team could help you claim compensation if you have suffered an injury at work that resulted in the amputation of a limb. Visit our Amputation Claims page or Accident at Work Claims page for more information.