A Newcastle company has been hit with a £2,000 fine after deliberately disabling a safety guard that led to a worker having his hand seriously injured in machinery.
David Potts, 31, from Stanley in County Durham, was left with no strength or feeling in his right hand for several months after suffering severe nerve damage in the accident at Radford HMY Group Limited, in Newcastle on 10 February 2012.
Serious safety failings
On Tuesday the company was found guilty of serious safety failings at Consett Magistrates’ Court by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), following an investigation.
Mr Potts was attempting to reposition a component that had become jammed on a shelving assembly and welding machine, causing the machine to stop, the court heard.
Following the removal of the component his hand became trapped between a moveable robotic arm and a fixed section of the machine’s frame after the machine immediately restarted.
An investigation found that the found that a safety component, designed to stop access to dangerous parts of the machine had been disabled.
The court fined Radford HMY Group Limited, of the Hobson Industrial Estate, Burnopfield, Newcastle, £2,000 and ordered them to pay £5,388.30 in costs after the company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The HSE declared that the company had failed to ensure that its machinery and safety devices were in proper working order, as required by law.
“Mr Potts suffered a serious and preventable injury because of the failure by Radford HMY Group Limited to ensure that safety devices were maintained in an effective condition and that suitable procedures were in place to safely enter the machine enclosure,” Cain Mitchell, HSE Inspector, said following the hearing.
“Too many incidents occur during the setting up and the undertaking of maintenance tasks on machinery. They are easily avoided if suitable precautions are taken to prevent access to dangerous moving parts.”