Accident at Work
Employers are being warned about ensuring machinery is well guarded after a worker had all the fingers on one hand amputated by a hydraulic press.
The employee was operating a swaging press at Rimac Fabrications, in Cannock, Staffordshire, when he reached into the machine to remove an item of work.
Rimac Fabrications was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,737 at Stafford Magistrates' Court after admitting failing to maintain parts of the machine and not carrying out a suitable risk assessment.
At the same hearing, Edbro Machine Tools, who supplied the equipment, also pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,745.
HSE investigating inspector Andrew Bowker said: "The dangers of using press machines without suitable safeguards are well known. Serious injuries such as amputation can result when limbs, or parts of limbs, become trapped by moving parts.
"Allowing machines to be operated with critical parts not working and without suitable and appropriate guards and safe systems of work is reckless and blatantly ignores the safety of employees.
Manufacturers and suppliers of such machines should also be well aware of the dangers and need to ensure that machines are manufactured and supplied as a product conforming to legislation and minimising risk to operators or bystanders.
"HSE publishes approved codes of practice, guidance and numerous information leaflets to give practical advice on machinery guarding, therefore, there is no excuse for duty holders failing to control the risks and protect employees."
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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "This terrible industrial accident like so many could and should have been avoided.
"The risk of injury caused by unguarded machinery is well known and there is legislation to cover this area.
"Employers must carry out suitable risk assessments designed to highlight dangers faced by workers and bystanders. Employers must also ensure equipment they provided is suitable and properly maintained.
"I represent many workers in claims for compensation following serious or fatal industrial accidents."
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.