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Preventable finger loss accident lands fine

16 October 2019

A MANUFACTURING company has been fined after a worker’s hand was damaged whilst carrying out machinery repairs.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 27 July 2018, an employee of Preston Board and Packaging Limited was trying to repair a cardboard slitting machine. Whilst in the process of lifting a chain back onto a sprocket, a roller attached to the chain dropped to the base of the machine trapping his fingers under the chain, resulting in his left-hand ring finger and the tip of his middle finger being severed.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was no risk assessment or safe system of work in place for replacing/repairing safety wires and chains on the slitter machine.

Preston Board and Packaging Limited, Green Bank Street, Preston pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £33,500 and ordered to pay costs of £5,527.16.

HSE inspector Mike Lisle said after the hearing, “This injury was easily preventable. The task had been carried out a number of times previously and the risks should have been identified. Employers should properly risk assess machinery operations then apply effective control measures and robust safe systems of work to minimise the risk to employees from dangerous parts of machinery”.