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Timber manufacturer fined after apprentice suffers severe hand injuries

Date:
1 June 2015

A timber mouldings manufacturer in Rochdale has been fined after a young apprentice lost two fingers of his right hand while working on machinery.

Liam Hagan, a 16-year-old was an apprentice with Dresser Mouldings (Rochdale) Limited and was working alongside an experienced colleague on a moulding machine when the incident happened on 23 July 2014.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday (29 May) that the teenager had been working alongside a colleague on the machine at the company’s Station Yard Sawmill, when a piece of wood jammed and would not feed through properly.

The machine was opened to try to rectify the problem. The teenage apprentice was looking inside and trying to help adjust the machine when his gloved right hand caught on one of the rotating cutters.

His right hand was severely injured, and he lost the entire middle finger and part of the thumb.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that company had failed to ensure the guards were positioned safely and that a safe system of work was in place.

Dresser Mouldings (Rochdale) Ltd, of Station Yard Sawmill, Wood Street, Rochdale, was fined £18,000 with costs of £844.50 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Emily Osborne, said:

“This incident could have been easily prevented if the company had suitable measures in place to ensure workers did not come into contact with the rotating cutters. This would include not allowing apprentices to operate machinery and ensuring the guards on the machine were fitted correctly.

“There was no safe system of work in place for the task as well as a lack of instructions and training to ensure workers knew how to carry out the task safely.

“Instead, the firm’s failures led to a young worker suffering a severe injury, losing a finger and part of his thumb.”

More information about maintaining machinery safely can be found at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/

 

Notes to Editors:

 

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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. hse.gov.uk
  1. 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.”
  1. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk/

 

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