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Hand Injuries Prove Life-Changing for Workers

Injuries to the fingers and hands are some of the most common injuries sustained in the workplace, particular for those working with machinery.

In addition to being very painful, the nature of hand injuries mean they can often have life-changing consequences for the workers concerned, which makes it even more tragic that many of these injuries could have been prevented if only basic safety measures had been put in place.
 

Worker Loses Four Fingers

In one recently reported case, a worker at a textile company sustained serious hand injuries while working with machinery.
 
He was preparing a piece of machinery for the next shift, when his hand was drawn into the rotating rollers. He suffered severe crush injuries to his left hand resulting in partial amputation of four fingers.
 
When the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident it found that the company failed to safeguard this dangerous piece of machinery. They had previously provided a guard, but when it broke down they failed to repair it and instead replaced the guard with an emergency stop wire.
 
It remained in that condition for over two years, with the proper guard only being replaced the day after the worker was injured.
 
The company appeared in court where it was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,862.
 

Company’s Failings Caused Injuries

“Mr Seward has suffered life changing injuries due to the company’s failures,” said HSE inspector Paul Mannell, speaking after the hearing. “An individual’s health and safety should not be made worse by the work they do.”
 
“Duty holders have the responsibility to ensure all dangerous machinery has the appropriate level of safety guarding for employees to be able to operate it,” he added.
 

Worker’s Hand Amputated

In a separate incident, a worker at a soft toy filling company ended up losing his entire hand as a result of a company’s safety breaches.
 
He was attempting to clear a blockage in a carding machine when his hand was caught by a spiked roller and drawn into the machine, severing most of his fingers. He was airlifted to hospital where surgeons had to amputate his hand from the wrist due to the seriousness of his injuries.
 
The HSE prosecuted the firm over the incident after its investigation revealed serious safety breaches.
 
It found that the carding machine had a flange attachment for connecting pipework to the machine at the discharge chute in order to supply loose fibre to a single toy filling machine. However, the flange and pipework were left off to allow the carding machine to discharge into a wooden enclosure to supply three toy filling machines with loose fibre. Consequently, the spiked roller located inside the discharge chute was unguarded and accessible during operation.
 
The company pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches and was fined £35,000 with £2,486 costs.
 
“This man’s life changing injuries could have been prevented if a suitable and sufficient planning had been completed and the correct control measures were identified and implemented,” commented, HSE inspector Eddy Tarn. “The consequences of leaving off the flange and discharge pipework were foreseeable and could have easily been prevented.”
 

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