A business in Staffordshire has been hit with a financial penalty after one of its employees suffered a serious injury in which he lost the tip of his finger.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) immediately launched an investigation into the case and decided to prosecute Bathgate Slate Technologies, which is based in Newcastle under Lyme. The worker, who does not want to be named, endured the hand injuries while using a machine that was found to have been poorly guarded.
He lost the tip of his little finger and fractured his ring finger in the accident at work and was taken to North Staffordshire Hospital. While he was there, his little finger had to be amputated and the fractured digit was pinned, resulting in him having to spend three weeks off work.
Experts from the HSE discovered that he had been taking bricks from the machine's conveyor belt when disaster struck, as he tried to keep up with the number of bricks and eventually lost out and his hand became trapped between the belt and the roller below.
The HSE investigation revealed that the guarding that should have been in place on such a machine was not being used by the company, despite the fact it had carried out a trial and displayed an intention to install it. The man would not have been injured had a guard been in place on the day.
HSE inspector Simon Hall said: "The employee's painful injury should not and need not have happened. It was easily preventable had Bathgate Slate Technologies fitted appropriate guarding to prevent access to the rollers. Guards and safety systems are there for a reason and companies have a legal duty of care to ensure they are properly fitted and working effectively at all times."
The company was hit with a £4,000 fine and told it must also pay almost £5,500 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.