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This article was published on November 17th, 2016
A company has been investigated after one of its employees severed a thumb after he reached into some unprotected machinery to clean it with a rag which got caught in the mechanism and pulled his hand in causing his left thumb to be severed.
The Crown Court heard evidence from the Health and Safety Executive who visited the premises following the accident about how the company, who manufactures packaging for the food industry, had failed to take sufficient steps to ensure ALL dangerous parts of machinery were not accessible to employees.
As an employee reached through the only unguarded section of the dangerous machine to clean the ink from a moving roller, the rag he was using got caught and his hand got pulled in to the rotating cogs and received a nasty gash to his thumb which needed skin grafts. His injury caused considerable pain and distress and was unable to work for 15 weeks.
The HSE concluded that, whilst the company had made attempts to safeguard the machinery, there was one area that was still unguarded and they also highlighted that their risk assessments were 9 years ago and outdated. They needed updating as they were not written by someone trained in modern risk assessment procedures.
The company did not identify the current risks or provide the necessary training to working with dangerous machinery (high risk areas). They advised that the employee hadn’t received sufficient training for working with unguarded moving machinery.
Because the packaging company had received previous notices from the HSE re machinery guarding issues, they were fined £70k and ordered to pay costs of £53.5k.
An HSE inspector responded: “The employee’s life changing injuries could have been prevented if a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had been completed and the correct control measures implemented.
“The day after the accident the company carried out a new risk assessment of the machine guarded the area in which the employee reached through with a clear plastic screen. The company followed this up with a written safe system of work relating to cleaning the rollers.’’
Accidents can be embarrassing and stressful and we often blame ourselves when they happen but ask yourself this.. were you given the right tools and equipment for the job? Was the job risk assessed and properly supervised? were you given the proper training to do the job? are all the tools and machinery maintained and fit for purpose? If you are unsure if you are at fault or not then speak to one of our specialist solicitors who find out for you and will handle every aspect of your work accident compensation claim, providing the support and expertise you deserve.
We offer a free initial interview in order to review your specific circumstances and assess the viability of your personal injury claim.
To speak to one of our specialist team call us now on FREEPHONE 0800 1979 345, or complete our simple enquiry form and we can call you back at a time to suit you.
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