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Jarrow firm sentenced after worker's hand severely injured

Date:
3 September 2013

A Jarrow firm has been fined after a worker suffered serious injuries to his hand when it became caught in machinery at an engineering plant.

Jack Ward, 19, from Jarrow, was polishing a component on a manual lathe when the incident happened at Premier Precision Engineering Ltd on 12 July 2012.

He suffered a dislocated knuckle on his right hand and a broken index finger which required surgery to pin and wire back into position. Mr Ward has not regained full use of his hand and requires a further operation to repair the damage.

Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the company was prosecuted today (3 September) for safety failings.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Ward was wearing gloves, while he polished a component on the lathe using a strip of emery cloth looped around it.

But as he worked, either the emery cloth or his gloves became entangled in the rotating parts and pulled his right hand into the machinery.

HSE found Premier Precision Engineering Ltd had failed to adequately assess and control the risks associated with polishing on manual lathes and failed to provide a safe system of work. In addition, there was inadequate information and training for workers, who should have been advised not to wear gloves when working on machines with rotating parts.

Premier Precision Engineering Ltd, of Rolling Mill Road, Viking Industrial Park, Jarrow, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £3,875.10 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing HSE inspector Fiona McGarry, said:

"Mr Ward’s serious injuries should not and need not have happened. Premier Precision Engineering Ltd had not provided employees with a safe way of working for this polishing task.

"Too many workers are injured getting tangled on manual lathes. Many of these incidents involve the use of emery cloth and employers must assess the need to use it on components on manual lathes and avoid it where possible.

"If it is necessary it should be used with safety equipment, such as a backing board or tool post. Only where none of these methods are reasonably practicable should emery cloth be used. Gloves should not be worn when working on machines with rotating parts."

Latest figures revealed eight workers were killed and more than 1,000 were seriously injured as a result of contact with the dangerous moving parts of machines. For more information about work equipment and machinery log onto the HSE website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/

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. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees."

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