Worker’s fingers severed in unguarded machine

An accident that cost a man two fingers happened because his employers allowed a pressing machine’s safety guard to be removed, a court has heard.

On November 24, Rotherham Magistrates’ Court heard that the vital safety guard was taken off deliberately by workers at Heaps, Arnold and Heaps Ltd with the full knowledge of the management.

When the 43-year-old victim was asked to work on the 250-tonne pressing machine, he was unaware that the safety guard, known as an interlock, had been removed.

The unguarded device then activated while the Doncaster man was carrying out routine cleaning work.

It crushed his middle and index fingers, which were lost, as well as part of his left hand.

Work accident aftermath

The accident at Heaps, Arnold and Heaps Ltd was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which found the entire incident to have been “entirely preventable”.

In addition to the fact that the safety guard had been taken off intentionally, the HSE found a complete lack of systems to check the safety of machines and employees.

Heaps, Arnold and Heaps Ltd, of Quintec Court, Barbot Hall Industrial Estate, Rotherham, admitted breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £687 in costs.

The victim is being rehabilitated and introduced back into a working role, though he is still undergoing medical treatment and physiotherapy.

HSE inspector Jane Fox expressed her regret that a long-term employee of the company has to endure the consequences of its actions for the rest of his life.

Source: HSE

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