Komatsu worker has two fingers cut off

Grant Prior 11 years ago
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A worker had two fingers severed when his hand was caught in a drilling machine at plant giant Komatsu’s factory in Birtley.

John Watson, 55, from Wheatley Hill, County Durham, was drilling holes in steel plates when his right hand became caught in the rotating parts of the machine.

Watson needed surgery to completely amputate his third finger and the middle finger between the first and second knuckle. He also had a bone removed from his hand.

Watson has worked at Komatsu for nearly twenty years but has been unable to return to work since.

Consett Magistrates’ Court heard that using the drill was not part of Watson’s normal work but at the time of the incident he had been asked to make some storage racking for the factory.

The investigation found that at the time of the incident on 23 June 2009 there was no guard on the drill to prevent access to the rotating parts and it was not the first time the drill had been used without a guard.

The gloves that Mr Watson was wearing became entangled and drew his hand into the rotating parts. He had not received training in the use of the drill and the precautions needed to reduce the risk of entanglement.

Komatsu pleaded guilty and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,421.10.

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