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Plastics firm prosecuted after worker severs fingers

07 January 2014

A Birmingham plastics firm has been fined after an employee had four fingers severed in a circular saw.

The employee was working at Kalsi Plastics (UK) Ltd on Tomey Road, Tyseley, on 10 August 2012 when the incident happened.

He stopped the machine to clear a blockage and the saw blade automatically moved from its operating position to its maintenance position in the base of the machine.

However, because of its position in the base of the machine the worker did not realise it was still rotating. As he attempted to clear the blockage, his left hand came into contact the blades, severing four fingers. He has been unable to return to work. Kalsi Plastics UK was prosecuted at Birmingham Magistrates’Court after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). HSE found the motor had not been fitted with an injection brake so the saw continued to rotate for around five minutes after the stop button was pushed.Kalsi Plastics (UK) Ltd, of Tomey Road, Tyseley, was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £2,418 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing HSE inspector Pam Folsom said: "This incident could have been prevented and a man spared from suffering painful, life-changing injuries had there been measures in place to bring the blade to a halt sooner. "A number of employees knew that the blade continued to rotate after the power was cut but neither Kalsi Plastics UK management nor its health and safety consultant were aware of the issue.

Employees were not represented in safety meetings so that known issues could be highlighted and control measures implemented. This incident also shows the importance of staff having a voice in management meetings. "The company has since fitted a brake which brings the blade to a halt in around five seconds and has also installed an interlock switch which is tripped when the cover to the base is opened.”