Brick maker loses top of finger

Grant Prior 11 years ago
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A Staffordshire building products firm has been fined for safety failings after a worker lost the tip of a finger using a poorly-guarded machine.

The employee, who does not want to be named, fractured his ring finger and lost the tip of his little finger following the incident at Bathgate Slate Technologies Limited in Newcastle under Lyme last January.

Stafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the company was trialling a new machine that forms and sand-coats bricks.

The worker was taking bricks from the end of the machine’s conveyer belt. As he tried to keep up with the supply of bricks his hand became trapped between the conveyor belt and the roller underneath.

He was taken to North Staffordshire Hospital where his little finger was amputated at the tip and his fractured ring finger pinned. He was unable to work for three weeks as a result of the injury.

An HSE investigation established that the machine was missing suitable guarding, although the intention was to install guarding when trialling was complete.

Bathgate Slate Technologies was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £5,464 in costs after pleading guilty to safety breaches.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Simon Hall said: “The employee’s painful injury should not and need not have happened.

“It was easily preventable had Bathgate Slate Technologies fitted appropriate guarding to prevent access to the rollers. Guards and safety systems are there for a reason, and companies have a legal duty of care to ensure they are properly fitted and working effectively at all times.

“Being drawn into machines because of inadequate guarding or – as in this case – a total absence of guarding, happens far too regularly. The importance of robust safeguards to protect workers gaining access to dangerous moving machinery cannot be overstated.”

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