A welding machine manufacturer has been fined £53,000 after a worker’s hand was crushed in an unguarded machine.
The incident occurred at MTI Welding Technologies in August last year and left self-employed electrical contractor Ian Mowbray needing two of his fingers to be amputated.
The 49-year-old had been attempting to fix a loading problem on a high-friction welding machine when he pressed the wrong button, which led to the powerful hydraulic holding fixture to close on to his left hand, Dudley Magistrates’ Court was told.
The Dudley-based firm failed to inform the Health and Safety Executive, which was only alerted following an anonymous complaint which led to an unannounced inspection.
Its probe discovered MTI had acquired the machine from another firm that had modified it to override the interlocks.
This meant the door to the safety enclosure could be opened without stopping the machine.
The manual buttons were located dangerously close to the fixture, the HSE said and MTI continued to use it in the dangerous manual mode without carrying out a risk assessment.
There was no secondary guarding in place to protect the operator during manual operations and the machine did not carry any emergency stops at the manual operating position.
The HSE inspection uncovered a radial arm drill running without a suitably maintained safety switch, and a Prohibition Notice was issued banning its use in its current form with immediate effect.
MTI Welding Technologies was also ordered to pay costs of £3,100 after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety regulations.
Mr Mowbray was away from work for three weeks and has since returned to the company.
Injuries at work
If you have suffered an injury which has led to finger amputation, Accident Advice Helpline could help. Find out whether you are owed compensation by filling its accident at work claims form – it only take 30 seconds.