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June 27, 2012

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Glazing firm failed to install vital machine guards

A migrant worker lost part of a finger when his hand was drawn into an unguarded woodworking machine at a factory in Aldershot.

Norbert Pietrzkiewicz was working for glazing firm, Total Installations Ltd, when the incident took place on 18 February last year. He was clearing wood shavings from a planer-thicknesser machine when his right hand was pulled into the cutting block.

He using the machine to reduce the thickness of three-metre lengths of timber. An untrained operative set up the machine in such a way that wood shavings blocked the revolving knife block. When Mr Pietrzkiewicz attempted to clear the debris from the machine’s table, his glove was drawn into the cutting block, which was rotating at 7000 rpm, and severed his little finger to below the first joint.

An investigation by the HSE found the company had failed to put adequate guards around the dangerous parts of the machine. It also hadn’t provided suitable training for staff who were operating the machine.

HSE inspector Alec Ryan said: “Total Installations failed in its duty of care to its employees by not considering the risks involved and acting to ensure there were safeguards in place to protect workers against accessing dangerous parts. This should have included the necessary training for the use of this machine.”

Total Installations appeared at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court on 26 June and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.11(1) of PUWER 1998 and reg.3(1) of the MHSWR 1999. It was fined a total of £12,000 and ordered to pay £3791 in costs.

Inspector Ryan concluded: “The powered cutting block of planers is a well-known and well-documented hazard in the industry. The dangerous parts of these machines must be properly guarded at all times, and guidance about this has been in existence for many years.”

Louise Hosking and Jimmy Quinn on IOSH Presidency

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, IOSH President, Louise Hosking, and Immediate Past President, Jimmy Quinn, discuss overcoming the challenges of the last 12 months and look ahead to what’s in store for 2022. The conversation points include, equality, diversity and inclusion, mental health and support for veterans and the armed forces.

Click here to listen to this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast.

Louise Hosking IOSH president

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