Firm told to pay £25k after worker loses finger in machinery accident
A metal firm has been fined £23,300 at court after a steel worker’s hand was dragged into machinery costing him a finger.
The victim, the longest serving employee at A.J.Metal Products in Brierley Hill, had to have part of his finger amputated, magistrates heard. T
he firm admitted contravening health and safety laws by failing to ensure workers were protected from the dangers of using the machinery.
Victim Ian Beech, who had protective gloves on, was feeding narrow steel rods through moving rollers when his right hand was dragged into the machine and trapped, said Ms Elizabeth Thomas, prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive.
He was taken to hospital but doctors were unable to save his right index finger which was amputated after the incident on July 20, 2016.
The firm had had risk assessments carried out on two larger bending machines, which were more frequently used, but failed to include the smaller one in their appraisal, said Ms Thomas.
“There was no need for people’s hands to be up close to the rollers on the big machines – and that was the crucial difference,” she said.
A sign warning workers not to wear gloves when using the machine because of the increased likelihood of getting caught up in the rollers was not very obvious, the court heard.
It had been installed after a similar accident in 2013, although the injuries were not so serious. Ms Thomas said there were various safeguards that could have been put in place. “The key is these risks need to be identified and, crucially, need to be communicated to the shop floor,” she added.
Wolverhampton Magistrates Court heard the business in Bevan Road is a family firm with an ‘exemplary’ record of looking after its employees.
And Mr Beech has since returned to work at the company. In a victim impact statement, Mr Beech said the experience was ‘very upsetting’ and had caused him considerable pain.
Apologising on behalf of the firm, Mr Peter Smith said: “This is a well-run company, and lessons have been learned.”
District judge Graham Wilkinson fined the company £23,300 and also ordered them to pay £1,900 costs. He said: “The company has an exemplary record and I asses that their remorse is genuine.”