The owner of a Derbyshire firm that specialises in refurbishing precision machining tools has been fined for safety breaches after a worker severed a thumb while lifting a heavy component.
Mark Evans, who was 45, was working on rebuilding a rotary table device when the incident happened. As he worked on the tool, which is used for drilling or cutting work at exact intervals around a fixed axis, and weighs around 30kg, it came loose from a sling attaching it to the prongs of a forklift truck that was being used to lift it.
As the sling slipped through the eyebolts in the rotary table, Mr Evans’ right thumb was somehow trapped by the sling and eyebolt, severing it completely and causing further tendon damage to the hand.
He was given a skin graft to cover the damaged area and a big toe was used to replace the thumb. However, he experienced debilitating complications and was unable to work for a year.
When the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident, it found there was no lifting attachment to secure the sling to the forklift truck, and that the sling and eyebolts had not been thoroughly examined. It also uncovered a series of other safety breaches that required urgent attention.
The firm’s owner was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,514 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
“Lifting incidents are often the result of a lack of training, the wrong equipment or the equipment being in a poor state of repair,” commented HSE inspector Steve Shaw.
“It is important to have the correct equipment in place, which has been thoroughly examined so that safe lifting operations can be carried out by appropriately trained personnel,” he added.
“As a result of not having safe working conditions in place, Mr Evans suffered a painful, life-changing injury that could have been prevented,” he concluded.
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