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Worker injured after firm ignored safety officer’s warnings

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A manufacturing firm from Macclesfield that ignored warnings from its health and safety officer has been fined after a worker was injured when his hand became entangled in a drill.


The 36-year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, was making metal sills at Stormguard Ltd’s Chester Road factory when the glove on his right hand became caught, pulling his hand around the rotating drill bit.

The third finger on his right hand was dislocated and fractured, and his little finger was also fractured. He had only been working at the factory for a couple of weeks when the incident happened on 16 October 2012.

HSE’s investigation found that workers at the factory, which produces a range of drainage products, routinely used the drill while wearing gloves, despite the well-known risk of them becoming caught in the rotating bit. Inspectors also found the drill’s guarding to be inadequate.

Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court was told that Stormguard’s health and safety officer had identified inadequate guarding on the drill in a written report over a year before the incident. He also raised the issue of workers wearing gloves while using drills. However, no action was taken to tackle the issues.

Stormguard was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £4,377 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

“There was simply no need for this incident to have happened, especially as Stormguard’s own health and safety officer had raised the issue with the company,” said HSE inspector Deborah Walker.

“The employee was lucky to escape with relatively minor injuries, but they could easily have been much worse. Workers at the factory were regularly using the drill without an adequate guard and while wearing gloves so there was a high risk that someone would be injured.

“There’s absolutely no point in manufacturers hiring health and safety officers if they’re not going to listen to their advice. Risk assessments should be acted on – not put on a shelf to gather dust.”

 

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