Worker loses hand in heavy machinery

A waste plastic recycling firm has been fined £1500 for breaching Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and ordered to pay £17,000 in compensation to the injured worker after his hand was severed when he was dragged into a granulator machine.

The HSE executive decided to investigate the company after one of its employees had been severely injured but had also been affected by the injury as a result of also being deaf since birth. The accident caused the employee to lose his right hand which had implications to him being able to use sign language, to drive or indeed work.

The 50-year-old employee had been feeding plastic waste into a granulator machine which then slowed down. The employee went to the inspection hatch and reached inside the machine to pull through some waste plastic which had lodged in the machine. The waste plastic then wrapped around his arm and dragged his hand into the blades of the machine.

The investigation discovered that not only were there no safe systems of work or appropriate safety guards in place to prevent access to dangerous parts of the machine but also that the company had no Employer’s Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI) at the time of the incident.

The HSE Inspector said:

“This incident could easily been prevented if the company had suitable measures in place to ensure workers could not access the rotating cutters in the granulating machine. This would include ensuring guards were fitted correctly on the machine.

“The firm’s failures led to a worker suffering a severe and life changing injury. Every employer needs to ensure that they have Employers Liability Compulsory Insurance in place to ensure employees can claim compensation if they are injured or become ill as a result of their work. It is completely unacceptable to not have basic insurance in place, and, where such breaches are identified they will be pursued by HSE.”

If you have recently been involved in a workplace accident that wasn’t your fault  then you could be entitled to make a compensation claim.

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