Severe hand injury after worker left unsupervised

February 20, 2018 | rabate

A packaging firm has been fined £120k for safety breaches after a worker suffered life-changing injuries.

On 3 October 2016, the worker was employed as a driver by W.K.West Limited. On the day of the incident, having finished his driving duties for the day he was asked to work in the factory.

The supervisor had set up a circular saw and demonstrated the task of pushing stacked cardboard sheets through the saw to pre-determined sizes. During the demonstration, no push stick or jig was used to push the cardboard through the blade. After the demonstration the worker was left unsupervised.

As he pushed the cardboard through the blade by hand, the cardboard twisted and pulled his right hand into the blade. The worker’s injuries were so severe that part of his index finger and ring finger had to be amputated from his right dominant hand, with his middle finger being damaged.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found W.K.West Limited did not provide suitable and sufficient training, supervision and assessment of the risks that were necessary for the safe use of the circular saw.

W.K.West Limited, trading as Westpack, of Cornish Street, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £120,000 with £849.54 costs

After the hearing, HSE inspector Anuja Mistry-Raval commented: “Circular saws have a well-known accident history of severe hand injuries. This incident could so easily have been avoided if suitable control measures had been implemented and safe working practices had been followed.

“Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk of personal injury from dangerous parts of machinery.”

HSE
February 2018

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