Recycling Plant worker suffers devastating injuries due to employer’s failure to prevent access to dangerous machinery

Posted on 08/21/13 in News, No Comments

Recycling Plant worker suffers devastating injuries due to employer’s failure to prevent access to dangerous machinery

First Reported by the HSE on 11th July 2013:

A 33 year old employee of a Hertfordshire based recycling plant was cutting lengths of lead into smaller pieces with a saw. A piece of lead became jammed in the saw and the employee tried to remove it, trusting that the blade was withdrawn and out of reach.

Devastatingly, his hand made contact with the blade severing his third finger, cutting through the bones tendon and arteries. Consequently his finger had to be amputated above the second knuckle.

The health and safety executive prosecuted two companies after an investigation revealed that the employee was not supervised at the time of the incident and no experienced operator was around to help. The training supplied was not adequate to ensure workers understood the risks in place when the saw blade was withdrawn or the proper method to remove material jammed in the saw.

The guarding to the saw was not effective and the companies failed to notify the workers of the risks the saw presented even when retracted.

The employee eventually returned to work after four months. However his grip is permanently affected, he finds it difficult to pick up small items and experiences constant pins and needles as well as aches in his hand.

The provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations places a duty on employers to ensure that access to dangerous parts of machinery are prevented and to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery before a worker enters a danger zone.

The two companies pleaded guilty to breaching this duty and were heavily fined.

HSE Inspector Joanne Carter, said:

“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.”

If you have suffered an similiar injury at work, we may be able to help you obtain compensation for your injuries.  Please leave an enquiry on our website.

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