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Amputation after a drill accident at work


A 62-year-old man had to have the top of his ring finger amputated after his gloved hand got caught in an unguarded drill at an engineering company, a court heard.

The Kent firm he was working for has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £2,433 in costs after admitting breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

Maidstone Magistrates’ Court heard the man was working for G&P Machine Shop Ltd in Sheerness, Kent, when the accident at work happened in August 2012.


Unguarded

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), prosecuting, said the employee – who does not wish to be named – was using a magnetic drill, with a rotary broach attachment, to drill holes in a steel plate.

A glove, being worn to protect his hand, had become entangled in the unguarded tool as he tried to add lubricant to it.

Magistrates heard he had been able to go back to work after the incident but has since retired.


Accident ‘entirely preventable’

An HSE investigation found the firm, of Argent Road in Queenborough, Sheerness, had failed to ensure protective measures were installed to prevent workers accessing dangerous moving machinery parts.

Following the court case HSE inspector Rob Hassell said the incident had been “entirely preventable”.

He added: “Magnetic drills come supplied with guards, which are obviously there for a reason and should be used. The issue of gloves and drilling machines is one that is well known – rigger-type gloves don’t tear easily and should not be worn during fixed drilling work.”

Mr Hassell said more than one in eight (13%) of the major injuries reported last year had involved people coming into contact with moving machinery parts.

Calling on firms to help reduce the number of related work incidents he added: “Companies must ensure equipment is effectively guarded and their workers are suitably protected from dangerous moving parts.”

Accident Advice Helpline says many work injuries could be prevented by following basic safety regulations.

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