Broken finger caused by accident at work

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Following another accident at work the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning all employers to be vigilant and ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place to avoid access to dangerous parts of machinery.

A company have been fined a total of £3,500 and ordered to pay £3,000 in court costs after an employee's finger was broken and others were injured in the unguarded part of a rotating chain drive.

The casting process requires that compounds are mixed continuously in moving tanks. When an employee noticed a rattling noise from one of the slurry tanks he placed his hand in an unguarded gap to check the chain tension. Upon doing so, the moving chain drew his hand in until it became trapped and injured by the teeth of the chain sprocket.

It is come to light that when the company brought the second hand machinery they identified the potential risks and decided that additional guarding was needed for the machine. However, they failed to fit the appropriate safeguards and failed to ensure a proactive maintenance programme was also in place.

Ritchie McCrae, the HSE investigating inspector commented: "The dangers of using machines without suitable safeguards are well known and long established. Serious injuries such as amputation can result when limbs, or parts of limbs become trapped by moving parts so it is fortunate that, in this case, injuries were not more severe."

"Allowing machines to be operated without suitable and appropriate guards despite HSE advice and ignoring a specifically identified risk is not just reckless but blatantly ignores the safety of employees and is a fundamental failure by the company."


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