Friday 6 September 2013

Defeated interlock switch causes finger loss

Incube, a Staffordshire furniture company, has been fined £9,025 (inc. costs) after an employee severed a finger in an unguarded machine.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on an edge banding machine on 9 October 2012.
  • The interlock safety switch on the machine had been defeated, allowing access to the machine while the blade was moving. 
  • The company had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the machine since it was introduced in 2010.
  • The worker was attempting to clean the machine when his left hand was caught by a rotating blade.
  • He suffered a number of injuries in the incident, including severing his little finger.

The HSE inspector said:
"The woodworking industry has one of the highest incident rates in manufacturing, most of which are caused by contact with moving machinery. HSE produces a wide range of free guidance to assist companies in carrying out risk assessments, and ensuring that woodworking equipment is safe to use and that people are properly trained. In short, what happened to this employee was easily preventable had the company appropriately considered the risks from their work processes and most fundamentally, not removed the safety device from the edge bander."

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