Employee injured after helping co-worker with unguarded machine…
A teenage employee lost four of his fingers on a poorly guarded machine at an engineering plant in Walsall after he offered to help a co-worker who had not been trained nor authorised to use the machine.
The machine in question was called a swager machine and is commonly used to expand metal tubes to provide space for other tubes to be inserted inside and the employees left hand became trapped in the inner parts of this piece of equipment and as a result he had four of his fingers severed clean off.
The 18-year-old accident victim had been employed at the company for just five weeks when the incident occurred on 16 February.
After the accident surgeons managed to successfully reattache two of the teenager’s fingers but they they were on able to save either his little finger or his ring finger. The consequences of the accident have led to the permanent disfigurement of the man’s hand and have increased the difficulty for him to carry out routine everyday tasks like dressing himself.
The subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the accident discovered that the accident victim had been helping a permanent employee who didn’t have the necessary training or authority to use the machine. Although the accident victim himself had been trained to use the machine there wasn’t adequate supervision at the time of the accident.
Walsall Magistrates’ Court heard that the teenager was only on a three-month job placement at the factory and that his employer had failed in their duty to ensure the machine was properly guarded so that employees might not be harmed by the dangerous internal moving parts of the on-site equipment.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,740.
HSE inspector Eve-Marie Edwards spoke after the hearing:
“A young worker has been left with a permanent injury as a result of this entirely preventable incident.
“The system of work for the swager was clearly unsafe. The company failed to provide guards for the swager and allowed access to dangerous parts of the machine. Employers must ensure that doesn’t happen and make workers aware of the risks involved.
“I hope this prosecution serves as a reminder to all companies that they must not leave dangerous moving parts open or exposed, and that only suitably trained, authorised and supervised employees should operate machinery.”
Health and Safety News” updates newsletter, click here. The new ‘Health and Safety News’ section on our web site is updated daily with new, up to the minute stories. The stories are also released via Twitter – why not follow us on Twitter? and receive new stories as and when they happen?