Worker loses finger due to unguarded machine

Posted on 10/10/14 in News, No Comments

Worker loses finger due to unguarded machine

First Reported by the Health and Safety Executive on 11th September 2014:

A 23 year old employee of a Lincolnshire based Timber Company lost the tip of his finger after the guard was removed from a machine.

The man was clearing a blockage in the woodwork machine on 15th July 2013. After a Health and Safety Executive investigation it was  found that two of the machine’s guards had been removed.

When the worker reached into the machine to clear the blockage his hand came into contact with one of the moving cutting heads, which should have been covered by the guard. His injuries were such that surgeons had to amputate the top of his middle finger on his left land. Apparently the guard had been removed to make cleaning of the machine easier.

The company was fined over £10,000.00 in total after pleading guilty breaching the Provision and Use of Work equipment regulations 1998. The regulations require that employers should take effective measures to prevent access to dangerous machinery/parts of machinery before any employee  enters the danger zone.

After the hearing HSE inspector Neil Ward said:

“About 30 to 40 similar incidents are reported to HSE every year. Nearly all result in amputation injuries and most, including this one, could have been prevented if the cutters had come to rest before operators approached them.

“Neither the machine operator nor the injured man had been trained to a suitable standard by Select Timber Products. HSE publishes free guidance for this type of machine but that guidance was not followed.

“Workers should not have been clearing blockages with any of the cutters turning and the fixed guard should never have been removed from one of the heads.”

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