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Manufacturing company prosecuted after employee’s fingers amputated

A manufacturing company has been prosecuted after an employee suffered life changing injuries after his hand was trapped in an unguarded rotary valve.

29 January 2020

A manufacturing company has been prosecuted after an employee suffered life changing injuries after his hand was trapped in an unguarded rotary valve.

The court heard that the employee was in the process of levelling out the waste dust that collected in a bag located underneath the rotary valve on the mixing plant when he lost his balance and began to fall backwards into the bag. To try and steady himself he used his right hand to reach out and grab something, in doing so he unintentionally brought his right hand into contact with the dangerous moving parts of the rotary valve causing his hand to be jammed. After being taken to hospital the employee had to have three fingers amputated.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the guard, preventing access to the dangerous parts of the rotary valve, had fallen off over time and was not replaced. The unit itself had been originally purchased second hand and no suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks arising from the use of this machine had ever been made prior to it being used, so the company failed to identify the risks from the dangerous parts.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of the Provision of Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,508.61.

A representative of the HSE said “This was an easily preventable incident which has had life changing consequences. It reminds us why there are long established and straightforward regulations requiring dutyholders who procure and use their work equipment to assess the risks and identify and put in place effective measures to prevent access to any dangerous moving parts”.

If you require any assistance or further assistance or guidance on implementing control measures for the hazards in your work place, please get in touch.

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