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January 7, 2009

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Untrained worker crushes hand in rolling machine

A workman had his hand crushed and a fingertip amputated after his hand was drawn into a rolling machine.

Mansfield Magistrates’ Court heard that Matthew Parker, 19, was working as a welder at W H Davis Ltd’s factory in Mansfield when the incident occurred, on 19 September 2007.

On this day there was no welding work available for Mr Parker to undertake so he was asked to operate a three-roll bending machine, in order to straighten metal that would be used to build railway carriages. This was the first time that Mr Parker had used the machine and he had not been fully trained in how to use it.

Mr Parker was initially supervised while using the machine but after a few minutes he was left to operate it on his own. He was still wearing gauntlet gloves, suitable for welding, when his left glove became caught in the machine’s rollers and his hand was drawn into the machine. He tripped the kick bar at the foot of the machine, in order to deactivate the device, but the machine did not stop immediately and pulled his hand for a further 20cm.

As a result of the accident he suffered multiple fractures to all four fingers, while one side of his thumb was split open to the bone. The injuries were so severe that the tip of his little figure had to be amputated. He has been unable to return to work since and is still receiving medical treatment.

W H Davis Ltd pleaded guilty on 17 December to breaching s2(1) of the HSWA 1974 and was fined £5000 and ordered to pay costs of £2380.

In mitigation, the firm said that it deeply regretted the accident and highlighted that it had no previous convictions. It also said that, as a result of this incident, staff are prohibited from using gloves with fingers while operating the machine.

HSE inspector, Maureen Kingman, told SHP: “This debilitating injury could have been avoided if the company had a safe system of work in place. Mr Parker should have been given training on how to use the machine, and the company should also have ensured that the machine stopped immediately when the emergency trip device was activated.”

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