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Macclesfield firm in court over worker’s drill injury

Date:
1 October 2014

A Macclesfield manufacturer has been fined for safety failings after a worker’s hand became entangled around a factory drill.

Stormguard Ltd, which produces a range of drainage products, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found it had ignored warnings by its own health and safety officer about how the machine was being used.

Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court heard the 36-year-old worker from Macclesfield, who has asked not to be named, had only been working at the Chester Road factory for a couple of weeks when the incident happened on 16 October 2012.

He was using the drill to produce metal sills, used to deflect rainwater from the bottom of doors, when the glove on his right hand became caught, pulling his hand around the rotating drill bit.

The third finger on his right hand was dislocated and fractured, and his little finger was also fractured.

The HSE investigation found that the guard on the drill was inadequate and that it had become common practice for workers to wear gloves while using the drill, despite the risk of gloves becoming entangled being well known in the manufacturing industry.

The court was told that Stormguard’s own health and safety officer had identified inadequate guarding on the drill in a written report over a year before the incident. He also raised the issue of workers wearing gloves while using drills. However, no action was taken to tackle these issues.

Stormguard Ltd, of Chestergate in Macclesfield, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £4,377 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Deborah Walker said:

“There was simply no need for this incident to have happened, especially as Stormguard’s own health and safety officer had raised the issue with the company.

“The employee was lucky to escape with relatively minor injuries, but they could easily have been much worse. Workers at the factory were regularly using the drill without an adequate guard and while wearing gloves so there was a high risk that someone would be injured.

“There’s absolutely no point in manufacturers hiring health and safety officers if they’re not going to listen to their advice. Risk assessments should be acted on – not put on a shelf to gather dust.”

More information on health and safety in the manufacturing industry is available at www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing.

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.”
  3. HSE news releases are available at press.hse.gov.uk.

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