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Manufacturing Company Fined After Drilling Machine Accident

A Wigan manufacturer was fined more than £10,000 after a drilling machine accident.

A manufacturing company based in Wigan has been fined £12,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,703 after a worker lost part of his index finger whilst operating a drilling machine.

The 46-year-old employee was drilling holes through an iron bar when his right hand became caught in the drill. His index finger was severed below the first joint, his middle finger was badly cut, and his ring finger was dislocated.

His employer, B&B Group Ltd., was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found that the company had failed to make sure basic health and safety measures were in place at the factory. The company should have installed a guard around the drill bit to protect employees working on the equipment.

The court heard that the drill took 30 seconds to stop after it had been switched off. It was still rotating as the worker reached to turn it on again after moving the iron bar to drill another hole. The glove on his right hand caught in the rotating mechanism and pulled his hand into the machine.

B&B Group Ltd. pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. This states that ‘Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken...which are effective to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar, or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone’.

Adam McMahon, the investigating inspector at the HSE, said, “Manufacturers who fail to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery are breaking the law and we will continue to take enforcement action against them.

“If there had been a guard around the rotating drill at the factory then the worker’s injuries would almost certainly have been avoided. This case highlights how important it is for manufacturers to make sure the health and safety of staff is their top priority.”

25 workers were killed and more than 19,000 were seriously injured in the manufacturing sector in Great Britain last year. Information on preventing injuries in different industries can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing/index.htm.

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James Johnston

James is a Partner and Head of the firm’s Dispute Resolution team.

Published: Monday 15th August 2011
Categorised: Health & Safety

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