Engineering company fined £5,334 after worker suffers amputation

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An engineering company has been sentenced after a worker suffered serious injuries to her arm and hand when she became entangled in a spindle drilling machine

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard that on 28 September 2018, Amy Howe, an employee of Stephenson Gobin Limited, was working at the company’s Bishop Auckland site. She was working on an adapted three spindle drill, used to manufacture parts for brake motors, when her gloved hand became entangled in the unguarded rotating spindle.

Spindle drilling machine

Amy suffered serious injuries to her arm and hand including multiple fractures and the amputation of a finger. More than a year on from the incident the mother of two young children is still unable to return to work. She faces further surgery to both her hand and arm.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had carried out a risk assessment on the drill and had identified that there was a risk of entanglement on the rotating parts.

However, it failed to provide guarding to the area and instead relied on employees to keep their hands away from the danger area. In addition, employees were not warned about the increased dangers of entanglement when wearing heavy-duty gloves of the type being worn at the time of the incident.

Stephenson Gobin Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £5,334 with £1,369.60 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Shuna Rank, said: “Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.

“In this incident, a worker suffered and continues to suffer from serious, life-changing injuries which could have easily been prevented.”

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