Ignoring established industry guidance about guarding dangerous machinery parts resulted in a young woman working for a lead crystal manufacturer suffering a serious hand injury, according to a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector.
The inspector was speaking out after Greatdale Limited – trading as Cumbria Crystal – of Ulverston, Cumbria, was fined £15,000 after admitting it breached the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.
Preston Crown Court heard the accident at work happened in February 2015 while Laura Ponsford, then 21, was using a pillar drill to widen the neck of a glass bottle.
Parts of the drill were unguarded, the court heard, and the latex glove on Mrs Ponsford’s right hand got entangled in its reamer’s rotating parts, resulting in her middle finger being severed.
Surgery was unsuccessful
The court heard Mrs Ponsford underwent a 10-hour operation to reattach her finger. But the surgery proved to be unsuccessful and in March 2015 she underwent further surgery to amputate her finger below the second knuckle.
The HSE told the court that the accident could have been prevented had measures designed to stop workers having access to the dangerous machinery parts been in place. Carrying out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment could also have prevented the injury, it added.
Following the case, HSE inspector Leona Cameron said a simple guard could have prevented Mrs Ponsford’s injury.
The need to guard dangerous machinery parts, she added, is well known while established industry guidance is available to firms.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: May 20, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown