Magistrates in Chesterfield have fined a company owner £6,000 after an employee had to have his thumb replaced with a toe following a work accident.
David Helley, 56, from Tuxford in Nottinghamshire, was also ordered to pay £1,514 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
He is the owner of a Derbyshire-based company that refurbishes precision machining equipment.
The incident happened on the premises of CNC Rotary in Staveley on June 17 last year when Mark Evans, 45, was working on a rotary table device.
Mr Evans, from Chesterfield, was about to rebuild the tool when it suddenly became detached from a sling which attached the device to the prongs of a forklift truck used to lift it.
His hand became trapped, which led to his right thumb being severed completely and caused serious tendon damage to the hand.
Doctors used one of Mr Evans’ big toes to replace the thumb and gave him a skin graft for the damaged area on his right hand.
However, magistrates were told that he suffered “debilitating complications”, which meant that he was unable to return to work for 12 months.
Serious safety flaws
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the incident and identified a number of safety failings.
It was found that an attachment to secure the sling to the truck was missing, and that managers failed to thoroughly check the sling and the device’s eyebolts.
HSE inspectors issued Prohibition Notices which meant untested lifting bolts and eyes were no longer allowed. They also banned the spraying of solvent-based paint in areas where they found unprotected electrics, and the use of paint products containing lead chromate and isocyanate.
Improvement Notices were served which require the company to re-think its training on lifting and slinging, as well as its examination scheme for two pressure vessels.
HSE inspector Steve Shaw said after the hearing that Mr Evans’ “life-changing injury” could have been prevented if better safety measures had been in place.
Making a claim
If you have been injured in similar accident at work you may be eligible for personal injury compensation.
Accident Advice Helpline has been helping people like you win compensation claims for personal injuries for more than a decade now.
You can call us at any time on one of our freephone numbers: 0800 689 0500 for landline calls and 0333 500 0993 for mobiles.