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Employee loses finger due to work place negligence

An employee has successfully won compensation from his employers after his finger was severed at work. The company has been ordered to pay fees to the worker, as well as pay a fine.

According to the Macclesfield Express, The East Cheshire Glass Ltd worker was positioning plastic under the unguarded blade when his index finger made contact with the rotating machinery, and was severed below the second knuckle.

The unnamed worker was following instructions by his superiors whilst performing this task, and so has suffered from substandard health and safety.

East Cheshire Glass appeared before a magistrate and admitted breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to provide adequate safety measures around dangerous pieces of equipment.

The court heard that the blade was not turned off in between the placement of plastic under the machinery, meaning the equipment continued to run whilst exposed to workers.

It was also admitted that the guard on the blade had been adjusted in order to stop it hitting the plastic as it was lowered, though a result of this meant large parts of the blade were exposed.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspector Jane Carroll said of the incident: “If the guards on the blades were causing problems then East Cheshire Glass should have adapted them in a way that meant the blades were still fully protected when they were raised.

“The company’s priority should have been the safety of its employees but instead one of its workers suffered a permanent injury.”

These incidents have occurred several times before across Britain. One man in Cheshire was rewarded £6,000 after his finger was severed at work, while a teenage apprentice in Gloucestershire lost two fingers due to a similar incident.

The HSE has prosecuted several companies due to these incidents, and Inspector Caroline Bird said of the teen’s accident: “A teenage apprentice just entering the world of work, lost parts of two fingers because Albany Engineering didn’t do enough to look after his safety.

“The company failed to adopt a safe system of work on this machine and failed to carry out a proper risk assessment of the work.”

Work related injuries have significantly reduced over the past few years, though the numbers are still in the thousands. In 2003/2004, nearly one million employees were injured in some way at work, though the figures for 2011/2012 are significantly lower at 600,000.

Full statistics for each work industry can be found at the HSE website.

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