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Serious Hand Injury Costs Firm £8k

Hand Injury At Work



Employers of a worker who suffered serious hand injuries in an accident with two rotating metal rollers have been fined £8,000.

The incident at North Shields-based Formica Ltd resulted in 45-year-old Gary Burke losing his little finger and part of other fingers on his right hand, North Tyneside Magistrates' Court heard.

Mr Burke, of North Shields, damaged his hand on November 20, 2009, when it was drawn between the rollers in the faulty machine.

The machine is used to coat paper with resin then cut it into sections to produce the back of laminated items.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed that there had been consistent production problems with the machine. Mr Burke was using his right hand to check for any resin deposits on the feed belts, when his glove became caught on a belt and his hand was drawn between the two guide rollers.

Despite several operations, doctors were unable to save Mr Burke's little finger though he hopes that they will be able to re-construct two of his fingers to restore some function long term. The incident has had a substantial impact on his life as he does not have full use of his hand. While he has returned to work, he has not been able to perform his old role and is now on light duties.

Formica Ltd, of Silver Fox Way, Cobalt Business Park, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. As well as the fine, the company was also ordered to pay £4,741.60 in costs.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “This was a very serious work accident which ought never to have been allowed to happen.  As such, I welcome the fine imposed.

“All too often, I have to help workers pursue their compensation claim following injuries sustained in an accident at work in circumstances that could so easily have been avoided.”