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Partnership fined after Norfolk worker severs hand

4 November 2013

A Norfolk worker was seriously injured when his hand and arm were pulled into a polishing lathe, a court heard today.

Gavin Nobes, 41, from Dereham, almost lost his left hand in the incident at Marshall Brass in Heckingham on 27 February 2012.

It was severed and had to be reattached through surgery. He also required a further operation to have a metal frame inserted in his wrist and now has limited movement that is likely to be permanent.

Norwich Crown Court was told that Gavin was polishing a cast brass, clock face bezel on a lathe. The bezel snagged on a polishing wheel, caught his hand and arm and drew them towards the machine where they became entangled.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the polishing lathe was not suitable for polishing the clock face bezel because it presented a high risk of snagging.

Marshall Brass, trading as a partnership, was prosecuted by HSE for failing to arrange an alternative method of polishing the bezel, or adapting the machine or system of work so that the job could be done safely.

The partnership, of Heckingham Hall, Heckingham, Norwich, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty of breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

After the hearing HSE inspector Anthony Brookes said:

“This case illustrates the serious and life changing consequences of failing to assess whether a powerful machine is suitable for the task intended.

“Duty holders need to carefully consider whether a particular job presents risks not normally encountered in more routine day-to-day activity, and make the necessary adjustments to ensure a safe system of work remains in place.

“That did not happen here and Gavin has been left with permanent injuries as a result.”

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 4(3) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is used only for operations for which, and under conditions for which, it is suitable.”
  3. Further HSE news releases are available at


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