AN ENGINEERING firm has been prosecuted after a worker from High Peak lost four fingers on his left hand when they were crushed in machinery.
The 62-year-old from Whaley Bridge, who has asked not to be named, had been using a power press to cut electrical components from a thin strip of steel when his hand became caught between the unguarded cutting tools.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the machine guards had been disconnected and tied back several days before the incident to allow easy access.
This meant that operators could put their hands under the tools to remove components without the power first being cut.
The injured worker’s employer, Hayles Pressings Ltd, admitted three health and safety offences when it appeared before Trafford Magistrates’ Court following the incident at its factory on Mottram Street in Stockport on November 24 2010.
The court was told the most likely explanation for the worker’s injuries is that he accidently leant on the foot pedal which operated the press while his hand was under the cutting tools.
He lost all of the fingers on his left hand including the knuckles and, despite several operations and skin grafts, still has very little use of his hand.
Hayles Pressings Ltd pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by not providing adequate training to employees, not checking guards were in place, and not preventing access to dangerous parts of the machine.
The company, of Market Street in Hyde, was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £2,500 towards the cost of the prosecution on July 6 2012.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Jayn Johnson said: “One of Hayles Pressing’s employees has suffered a life-long injury because the company didn’t do enough to look after his safety.
“He was not given any formal training on how to use the machine, and the firm ignored its legal duty to carry out daily checks to make sure the guards were in place.
“If it had allowed the machine to be used as it had been designed, with the guards in place, then the worker’s injuries could have been avoided. Instead he has lost all four fingers on his left hand.”