Welwyn Garden City firm fined £17,000 after worker suffers horror hand injury
PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 March 2014 | UPDATED: 17:49 21 March 2014
A Welwyn Garden City firm was fined £17,000 after a worker suffered a horrific hand injury.
The agency employee sustained “multiple fractures and lacerations” to his right hand after trying to clear a blockage, while working on a palletiser machine at roofing company Sika Ltd, in Watchmead.
The 33-year-old was attempting to restart the machine after dealing with the blockage when his right hand was struck by a moving part. He was unable to work for months.
The injury, on October 12, 2012, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted the company at Watford Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
The court heard the worker had bypassed an interlocked gate, which was common practice by staff, to clear the blockage.
As he restarted the palletiser, his hand, which was resting on the top frame of the machine, was struck by a moving part which operated the claw mechanism.
HSE found the machine guarding was “inadequate to prevent access to the dangerous parts of the machine”. It also found that Sika Ltd had failed to properly assess the risks from using the palletiser.
The company was fined £17,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,219 after admitting two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Keith Gilbert, head of operations at Sika Limited, said: “This unfortunate accident happened when an employee bypassed an interlocked gate to clear a blockage in our mortars plant palletiser.
“Within 36 hours of the accident the height of the safety fencing on the machine was increased.
“Recent investment in the line has now resulted in the palletiser being decommissioned.”