A company has been hit with a fine after it was found to have overseen an entirely preventable accident on its premises that led to a severe injury.
Kenray Forming was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an unnamed employee had part of his finger severed in an incident involving a packaging machine. The fabrication firm was found to have failed to take some necessary steps to prevent such injuries occurring.
The member of staff, a 41-year-old man, was running the bagging machine at the time of the accident when he slipped. As he began to fall, his instincts led to him throwing his hand out in an attempt to regain balance, but he put it straight into the front of the machine.
As the machine was unguarded, the individual's hand was immediately in the vicinity of a vacuum pull belt, where his fingers became trapped between the belt and the rollers. The man's ring finger was severed at a point slightly below the first knuckle and he was forced to spend three days in hospital.
He has since returned to work at Kenray Forming, but he continues to live with the serious injury.
An investigation was launched by the HSE and it soon discovered that there was no protection in place in dangerous parts of the machine. Kenray Forming pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined a total of £10,000, while it must also pay costs of almost £2,000.
HSE inspector Richenda Dixon explained: "The incident was entirely preventable. It would not have happened if the available guards, which are there to protect machine operators, had not been removed. Kenray Forming should have had a system in place to ensure the guarding mechanisms remained permanently in place."
Firms working in similar sectors could use the case as an example of why they must take safety extremely seriously and ensure machines are not left unguarded.