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Drill Injury Lands Company In Court

Prosecution Follows Worker Injury At Macclesfield Plant


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted a drainage products manufacturer after one of its staff had his hand entangled in a drill.

Stormguard, which is based in Macclesfield, Cheshire, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive over the incident, which occurred in October 2012.

The 36-year-old employee, who has not been named, was using the drill to produce metal sills when the glove on his right hand became entangled in the machinery, pulling his hand round the drill bit as it rotated. 

As a result, the third finger was fractured and dislocated, while his little finger was also broken.

The investigation found the company's own safety officer had raised the issue of the wearing of gloves, which puts workers at risk of the kind of accident that occurred in this instance. He also noted that safety guards were not adequate. He produced a written report outlining his concerns and the dangers these issues posed.

However, the firm failed to address these issues, which Macclesfield Magistrates' Court heard were key factors in causing the incident.

Stormguard pleaded guilty in the hearing to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,377.

Commenting on the case, HSE inspector Deborah Walker said: "The employee was lucky to escape with relatively minor injuries, but they could easily have been much worse. Workers at the factory were regularly using the drill without an adequate guard and while wearing gloves so there was a high risk that someone would be injured.

"There's absolutely no point in manufacturers hiring health and safety officers if they’re not going to listen to their advice."

According to HSE figures, over the past five years the average annual casualty toll of accidents in the UK manufacturing sector tallied 31 deaths, 4,500 serious injuries and 19,500 injuries that kept staff off work for three or more days.

Expert Opinion
In this shocking case a man suffered serious injuries at work which could have been prevented if his employers had the dangers he and other workers were exposed to been taken into account and acted upon by their employer. Health and safety legislation is there for a reason and it is vital companies take their responsibility to protect workers seriously.

“We have represented a number of people who have suffered serious injuries as a result of the safety failings of the employers and I hope that this HSE prosecution will encourage other companies to take a look at their own health and safety measures and make improvements where necessary.”
Stephen Nye, Partner

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