Joinery firm in court after worker loses fingertip

A joinery firm has been fined for its safety failings after an employee lost the tip of his left middle finger on an unguarded piece of dangerous machinery.

The victim who doesn’t want to be named, required a partial amputation of the injured finger as a result of the accident on 5th November 2013, although he was soon returning back to work.

The firm were prosecuted on 27th January 2015 after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the safety guard which was intended to be on that piece of machinery had been removed and not replaced.

The worker was using an overhead router to manually machine a rebate along the edge of some door panels. As he worked on his fourth panel his left hand had slipped and came in contact with the cutting tool.

The Health and Safety Executive had established that although the guard was available for the machine in question, it had been removed during a change in tool and had not been refitted.

The magistrates were told that it had not been seen fitted for a couple of weeks, which meant that other workers were also being at risk of being injured as they have also been using the router.

The company was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £766 in costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the provision and use of work equipment regulations 1998.

After hearing the verdict HSE Inspector Robert Hassell commented:

“The worker suffered a painful injury and is now permanently disfigured as a result of an incident that was entirely preventable had the safety guard been in place.

“Guards are there for a reason and the onus was on North Quay Trading Limited to instigate routine checks to ensure they were fitted and working effectively at all times.

“A substantial number of the injuries reported to HSE involve workers coming into contact with dangerous moving parts, particularly in a manufacturing environment. The risks are clear and safety guidance is freely available covering guarding requirements.”

Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken which are effective (a) to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or (b) to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”

Source: HSE