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Metal processing firm fined after man suffers life changing injuries

A metal processing company has been fined £12,000 after an employee sustained life changing injuries at an incident at a premises in the Oldbury in the West Midlands.

Independent Slitters Limited carries out metal slitting at the facility – a process that involves coils of metal being split into various lengths. On 3 May 2022, 53-year-old Peter Daniels, husband and father of one, had a finger severed and a de-gloving of his right hand.

Guidance by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says employers should consider how workers use machinery and ensure it remains safe to use.

The worker had a finger severed in the incident at the company’s Park Street facility in Oldbury

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard Mr Daniels was in the final stages of setting up one of the slitting lines operated by the company at its facility on Park Street when the incident took place. His right hand was degloved and his middle finger badly damaged. He spent 11 days in hospital, undergoing several surgeries, which included the amputation of the middle finger as well as skin grafts.

An HSE investigation found the company did not have in place a system of work to ensure that the activity of setting and checking the blades on the slitting head rollers could be carried out safely. The risk assessment for the wide slitting line was not suitable and sufficient and did not consider the risks to employees when setting the blades.

Independent Slitters Limited of Park Street, Church Bridge, Oldbury, Warley, West Midlands pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. On 18 March 2024, the company was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,592.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Sarah Smewin commented: “The injuries that Mr Daniels suffered have impacted on all aspects of his life and resulted in him having to undergo numerous operations.

“The risks arising from working near to the dangerous moving parts of machinery are well known. Employers must assess their workplace for these risks and act to ensure that effective measures are in place to prevent access to dangerous, moving parts of machinery.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. More information about the legislation referred to in this case is available.
  3. Further details on the latest HSE news releases is available.
  4. Guidance on working safely with machinery is available.