Man has finger amputated by saw on poorly guarded machine…
Two companies have been prosecuted after a worker suffered severe injuries when his hand got caught in a saw in Ebbw Vale on 21 February 2012.
The 33 year-old accident victim had been in the process of cutting lead pieces into smaller portions at the lead recycling plant where he was employed when the accident occurred.
Caerphilly Magistrates’ Court was told that man was employed by another company who were responsible for the day-to-day work practices at the plant.
The man was injured when he attempted to free a piece of lead that was jammed in the machine he was using. He reached out to remove it as he believed the saw blade had been retracted and would not affect him. However his right hand did, in fact, make contact with the saw blade and his third finger was cut off, he was immediately transported to a local hospital where the finger was amputated further all the way to his knuckle. He returned to work for the company some four months after the accident but he still has difficulty using his right hand.
The subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the man had not received an adequate level of training with the machine he was using. It was also revealed that he was alone and unsupervised when the accident occurred. The recycling plant and the company who contracted the accident victim were both charged with failing to prevent their employee from accessing dangerous machine parts as the guarding on the saw was found to be ineffective.
Both companies pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and were fined £4,000 in addition to prosecution costs of £8,600 – to be divided equally between them both.
HSE Inspector Joanne Carter spoke after the hearing:
“This accident was foreseeable and both companies have fallen woefully short of the standard required by law. They both failed in their roles to protect workers by not properly guarding this machine. The injured employee should never have been placed in the position he was, and has suffered a debilitating injury as a result.
“Employers must fully assess the dangers associated with their work and put in place control measures. In this case, the risks associated with saws are well known, and should have been adequately controlled.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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