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Court for company after safety neglect

18 December 2013

An engineering firm in Kent has been fined after a worker lost the tip of a finger when his gloved hand got caught in an unguarded drill.

The 62-year-old employee, from Sittingbourne, who does not wish to be named, needed the top joint of his left ring finger amputated after the incident at G & P Machine Shop Ltd in Sheerness on 7 August 2012. He was able to return to work but has since retired.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and prosecuted the firm for failing to make sure protective measures were installed to stop workers accessing dangerous moving machinery parts.

Maidstone Magistrates heard (18 Dec) that the employee had been drilling holes in steel plate using a magnetic drill with a rotary broach attachment. He was wearing gloves to protect himself from the hot swarf and cutting fluids.

As he attempted to add lubricant to the tool, his gloved hand became entangled in the unguarded tool.

G & P Machine Shop Ltd., of Argent Road, Queenborough, Sheerness, was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £2,433 in costs after admitting breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

After the case, HSE Inspector Rob Hassell said:

“The incident was an entirely preventable one. Magnetic drills come supplied with guards, which are obviously there for a reason and should be used. The issue of gloves and drilling machines is one that is well known – rigger-type gloves don’t tear easily and should not be worn during fixed drilling work.

“Last year, about 13 per cent of major injuries reported involved contact with moving machinery. Companies must ensure equipment is effectively guarded and their workers are suitably protected from dangerous moving parts.”

Information and advice on safe working with machinery can be found at

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations states: Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken… to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”


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