Engineering company fined after hand injury accident

Engineering firm fined after worker injured hand 25599

A Jarrow-based firm has been fined after an employee suffered serious hand injuries when working on a piece of machinery at its plant.

Jack Ward, 19, was asked to polish a component on a manual lathe when the incident took place at Premier Precision Engineering's site in the summer of 2012.

South Tyneside Magistrates' Court was told that the teenager was wearing gloves as he used a strip of emery cloth looped around his hands. But as he conducted his duties, either the fabric of his handwear or the rag were pulled into the machinery.

Mr Ward was immediately rushed to hospital and doctors diagnosed him with a dislocated knuckle on his right hand, as well as a broken index finger that required corrective surgery.

Unfortunately for the 19-year-old, he had not regained full use of his hand at the time of this article being released and will require further investigative surgery to improve function in his limb.

After hearing about the work accident injury the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation to see if anything could have been done to prevent the accident. Inspectors from the agency found that Premier Precision Engineering did not properly assess and control risks associated with component polishing.

It was also concluded that inadequate information was given to Mr Ward and that he was not trained properly in how to effectively maintain machinery. It was also revealed that the teenager should not have been allowed to wear gloves while working on a device with rotating parts - as they can easily catch and drag peoples' arms inside.

Premier Precision Engineering was fined £8,000 and told to pay £3,875.10 in prosecution costs after it pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Commenting on the verdict, HSE inspector Fiona McGarry was quoted as saying: "Mr Ward's serious injuries should not and need not have happened. Premier Precision Engineering 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."

By Chris Stevenson