Firm Prosecuted After Worker Suffers Hand Injury

Incident Puts Machine Guarding In Spotlight


A company making personal protective equipment has been prosecuted and fined over an incident in which one of its staff suffered serious hand injuries caused by unsafe machinery.

The Health and Safety Executive brought the action against Oxfordshire-based JSP over the incident in January last year, when a 47-year-old employee was stirring the paint for a printer shortly after starting her shift when the machine moved suddenly, trapping her right hand.

As a result, she suffered a broken knuckle and nerve damage. She was off work for several months and the nerve damage has led to a permanent loss of dexterity.

The HSE investigation identified a failing micro switch on the sliding door guard of the machine as the cause of the accident. When functioning correctly, this switch would have automatically cut off power to stop any parts moving once the guard door was opened.

The device had been used for eight years without mishap, but during this time no safety checks or maintenance work had been carried out on it.

Commenting on this finding, HSE inspector Kelly Nichols said: "This was a preventable incident. JSP Ltd had carried out a risk assessment in 2007 that identified maintenance checks were not being carried out on the printing machine, but they had failed to follow this through by taking action to manage that risk."

She added: "Employers need to act on the findings of their own risk assessments and avoid complacency."

JSP pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £4,000 with £1,064 in costs.

The case was the latest of many dealt with by the HSE involving finger injuries caused by unsafe machinery.

Last month, an incident at the P&D Group Services roller shutter factory in Brierley Hill, West Midlands, saw the company fined over the lack of a guard on a machine, which led to a worker having his gloved hand caught in the rolling mill. He suffered crush injuries to his finger and the tip of it had to be amputated.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury at work, our specialist serious injury claims team could help you to claim compensation. Visit our Accident at Work Claims page for more information.

Expert Opinion
Something as simple as guarding on machinery and other equipment can make a huge difference in the workplace, as the examples outlined above demonstrate. Health and safety should always be a priority for employers.

"These cases are so similar to a number which we have been involved in, where we have seen people suffer long-term health problems as a result of injuries they have suffered at work.

"Lessons need to be learned from cases like this to ensure that improvements are made which prevent such incidents from being repeated in the future."
Stephen Nye, Partner