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Crystal company sentenced over injury to worker

Greatdale Ltd has been fined £15,000 after an employee suffered a serious hand injury while using machinery.

Greatdale Ltd has been fined £15,000 after an employee suffered a serious hand injury while using machinery.

Preston Crown Court heard the investigation by the HSE into the incident found the company had failed to prevent operatives from accessing dangerous parts of machinery.

The court heard how in February 2015, Mrs Ponsford was using a ‘pillar drill’ to widen the neck of a glass bottle. The chuck and reamer were unguarded. Mrs Ponsford was wearing latex gloves while performing this task; however the glove on her right hand became entangled within the rotating parts of the reamer resulting in the middle finger of her hand being severed.

In March 2015 Mrs Ponsford had to have the finger surgically amputated to below the second knuckle despite attempts to reattach the finger.

HSE told the court the incident could have been prevented if a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had taken place with regard to the drill and practicable control measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery had been in place.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £15,000 with costs of £3,000.

After the hearing HSE inspector Leona Cameron said:

“This incident could have been prevented simply by providing guarding to prevent access to dangerous parts of the machine.

The need to guard dangerous parts of machinery is well known with established industry guidance available, and in this case, the result of that guidance being ignored lead to a serious injury to a young woman.”