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May 19, 2011

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Outdated work method led to serious hand injury at Cardiff steel works

A production operator’s hand became trapped in the rollers of a section mill as he was measuring hot steel stock at the Cardiff city centre plant of Celsa Manufacturing, leading to serious burns and the amputation of two fingers.

Cardiff Crown Court heard on 13 May that the 41-year-old Newport worker had been using an obsolete method of work to measure the steel when the incident occurred on 11 September 2009. The Court fined Celsa £50,000 and ordered it to pay full costs of £10,715 after it pleaded guilty to breaching s2(1) of HSWA by failing to ensure its employees’ safety by providing a safe system of work.

HSE inspector Steve Curry told SHP that the man’s hand had been drawn into an in-running nip between rolls on the machine and the hot billet while measuring the dimensions of the hot billet with a set of callipers. “Had Celsa ensured correct and safe working practices, the serious injuries suffered by this employee may have been avoided,” he said.

“This was a completely unnecessary incident. There were alternative measures the company could have used for this task. At the time of the incident, this method of measuring steel product was a recognised practice within company procedures. This has since been changed so as not to require close approach by employees, but it has come a little too late for one worker.”

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