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Personal injury: £8,000 fine for medical equipment manufacturer

May 27 2015

A medical equipment manufacturer has been fined £8,000 after two workers were injured by dangerous parts of machinery in separate incidents at its premises in West Sussex.

In the first incident, one employee from Crawley, had his finger fractured as he attempted to make adjustments to material on a lamination line.

His hand was pulled between two rollers because there was no guarding in place to prevent him from accessing the moving parts.

As a result, HSE served two improvement notices requiring the company to take action to ensure the standards of guarding around potentially dangerous machines were raised to an acceptable level.

However, a second worker, also from Crawley, suffered cuts and bruising to her hand on 11th September 2013 when she trapped it between a fixed and a moving part while trying to clear a blockage.

Interlocks on the machine had been overridden, which HSE found had become common practice at Welland Medical Ltd and was effectively endorsed by the company.

Welland Medical Ltd was prosecuted at Worthing Magistrates’ Court after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that both incidents occurred because of guarding failures on machines.

Welland Medical Ltd, registered at Knaves Beech Way, Loudwater, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, was also ordered to pay £6,820 in costs after admitting two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Stephen Green said: “Although the injuries sustained to these workers were relatively minor, they could have been much worse.

“This type of incident is still far too common despite the fact that workers have lost limbs, been disabled and, in the most severe cases, even lost their life because of inadequate or missing guarding.

“Both incidents were easily avoidable. Guards had been removed on the first occasion and interlocked guards were overridden in the second.

“Taking guarding away from machines or overriding systems to allow access to dangerous parts should be only carried out with considerable planning and with alternative safe systems of work in place to protect workers. It must not be routine, as was the case here.”

PM Law solicitors in Sheffield can provide legal assistance if you have suffered an accident in the workplace. Call 0114 296 5444 for more information.