Worktop Manufacturer Fined £20,000 after Employee Loses Fingers in Machine
Overview of incident
A worktop manufacturer has been fined after an employee’s hand came into contact with an unguarded cutting blade which resulted in the amputation of two fingers.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered the machine had three sections, each enclosed by an interlocked hood. The interlocks were disconnected and replaced with locks around four years previously but the keys to the locks were left in the hoods, meaning the machine was able to run with the hood guards open.
The injured person was operating an edge banding machine when his hand came into contact with a blade that is used to create the finished edges on worktops. The injured person can no longer tie his shoelaces, use a keyboard or play the guitar and was unable to work for seven months and may require further surgery.
Details of fine
A fine of £20,000 and an order to pay costs of £4,574 was made by the court after Worktop Fabrications Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
28 year old male.
Worktop Fabrications Ltd
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court
This man’s painful and life-changing injuries were borne out of a catalogue of failings on the part of Worktop Fabrications Ltd.
In 2010, a year or so after the company thinks the interlock was removed, it undertook a risk assessment of the machine to identify whether the health and safety risks associated with its operation were being properly managed. That assessment failed to identify the machine was unguarded, so no steps were taken to correct the problem.
The risks associated with cutting machinery are well known in the industry, and so are the measures that should be taken to minimise or remove those risks. – HSE inspector Judith McNulty-Green