Young man didn’t receive necessary training or supervision on first day… A manufacturing company in Cardiff has been prosecuted by the HSE after an employee lost the tip of one of his fingers as a result of working with an unguarded drill.
The accident victim, 21, was working at the factory when he sustained the injury on 26 April 2011.
The HSE decided to prosecute the company after their investigation revealed the manufacturing company had failed in its duty to ensure that employees were sufficiently protected when using dangerous equipment or machinery.
Abergavenny Magistrates Court heard that it was the young man’s first day working at the factory and he expected his initial duty was to be tightening bolts and screwing boards onto steel panels but instead he was sent to work on helping a colleague to drill holes into steel frames as the panels were not available to work on.
The investigation revealed that the young man was initially asked to load and unload steel parts and was given gloves to help carry out the task but then his colleague who had been drilling was called away and the young man took over the drilling duties. The accident occurred when his right glove got caught up in the drill bit and he lost the top of his ring finger all the way down to his knuckle.
The court heard that the young man had not received the necessary training or supervision to carry out the drilling in a safe manner and the drill had been unguarded despite the fact no risk assessment had been carried out on it and the drill had not been checked or tested for safety.
The manufacturing company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £15,000 as well as costs of £9,947. The company was also ordered to pay compensation of £3,000 to the accident victim.
HSE inspector Hugh Emment spoke after the hearing:
“Serious incidents involving inadequately guarded drills are unfortunately too common. As this incident illustrates, the wearing of gloves is often a significant factor as it greatly increases the risk of entanglement and serious injuries.
“Incidents like this often result in the injured person having to deal with significant long term consequences for themselves and their families.
“Employers should ensure that machinery is suitably and sufficiently assessed. This includes taking into account relevant guidance and standards so that all necessary guarding and other risk reduction measures are in place as well as having systems to ensure that controls provided are maintained.”