Lawford Kidd, Personal Injury Solicitors

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Equipment supplier fined after worker's hand severed

A worker from County Durham had his hand severed while carrying out maintenance on glass cutting machinery a court heard.

The 34-year-old maintenance technician was investigating a fault on a new tilt table with a colleague. He  was on his hands and knees while trying to ascertain the cause of the fault and had activated the emergency stop.

Suspended above his right wrist was a large laminated glass sheet measuring six metres by three metres and weighing around almost a ton. The worker had his right arm extended with a mirror in his hand so he could check the status of a sensor relating to the release of the glass onto the table.

But when a colleague moved past another sensor on the tilt table the glass sheet was released, falling onto the maintenance technician’s wrist and severing his hand.

Surgeons reattached his hand with partial success and he was off work for several months while recovering from his injuries.

An HSE investigation found that there were faults within the programme controlling the movement of the glass as it allowed the glass sheet to be released, even when an emergency stop had been activated and that this fault was exacerbated by the installation of the new tilt table and the failure to integrate it properly with the existing equipment.

The company was found guilty following a month-long trial to breaching Section 6(3) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £150,000.

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