Cheshire firm fined over severed finger

Posted on 6 Jul 2012

Cheshire-based Greif UK, which makes large steel containers, has been fined after one of its employees lost part of a finger at a factory in Ellesmere Port.

The 55-year-old man, who has asked not to be named, was trying to remove debris from the chains under a rotating table when his hand was pulled into the mechanism.

Greif UK, his employer, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation into the incident at the factory on Oil Sites Road on 23 September 2011.

Chester Magistrates’ Court was told on 5 July 2012 that the worker had been cleaning a rotating table, which holds the steel container lids in place while they are spray painted, when the glove on his right hand became caught. The incident resulted in him losing the tip of his index finger.

The court heard there were no guards under the rotating table to prevent access to the chains while they were moving. The company has since installed fencing and a gate around the machine, which causes it to stop operating if the gate is opened.

Greif UK admitted a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery. The company was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £3,699 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Martin Paren said: “One of Greif UK’s employees was injured because the company failed to do its job properly and look after his safety.”

“It was able to install new safety fencing just two days after the worker lost part of his finger in machinery. If the fencing had been in place at the time of the incident, then his injuries could have been avoided.”

Mr Paren commented that manufacturing firms must make the safety of employees their top priority to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future and warned that they risk finding themselves in court if they don’t.

Injuries within the sector rose today, with the latest figures showing that there were 31 deaths within manufacturing between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012. 

Sales director at Greif UK, Yvon Martin, refused to apologise.