Firm fined after failing to provide safe working environment…
A company in Jarrow has been prosecuted after an employee sustained severe damage to his hand when it was trapped in machinery at the firm’s engineering plant.
The 19-year-old accident victim was in the process of polishing a machine part on a manual lathe when the accident occurred on 12 July 2012.
The young man dislocated a knuckle on his right hand and broke his index finger in the incident and had to have surgery to insert a pin to his finger to realign it correctly. He still hasn’t been able to regain full use of his hand and has since had further surgery.
The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident discovered that the accident victim had been wearing gloves as he varnished the machine part and that there was a piece of emery cloth that had been wrapped around it. It is thought that either the man’s gloves or the cloth got entangled in the rotating machine parts of the lathe and subsequently dragged his hand into the machine.
South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard that the firm had to failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment with regard to using the machinery and had failed in their duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Training and supervision was also found to be lacking as the company didn’t take the opportunity to advise workers not to wear gloves while working near machinery with dangerous rotating parts.
The engineering company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay an additional £3,875.10 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
HSE inspector Fiona McGarry spoke after the hearing:
“The young man’s serious injuries should not and need not have happened. the company had not provided employees with a safe way of working for this polishing task.
“Too many workers are injured getting tangled on manual lathes. Many of these incidents involve the use of emery cloth and employers must assess the need to use it on components on manual lathes and avoid it where possible.
“If it is necessary it should be used with safety equipment, such as a backing board or tool post. Only where none of these methods are reasonably practicable should emery cloth be used. Gloves should not be worn when working on machines with rotating parts.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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