Healthcare giant given thumbs down in court

Posted on 4 Jan 2013

Healthcare manufacturer Synergy Health has appeared in court after an employee lost a part of his thumb when it became trapped in machinery.

The incident happened at its factory in  Chorley, Lancashire, which makes hospital sterilisation products.

Synergy Health was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the guards on its dry wipes machine were not sufficient.

The investigation also found that Synergy Health had not provided the worker with adequate training.

Leyland Magistrates’ Court was told today that the 39-year-old had been working on a machine at the plant when he reached into the tunnel leading out of the machine to stop it becoming blocked with wipes that had not been cut properly.

His left hand became caught in the slatted conveyor belt and he lost the top of his thumb down to the first knuckle after the conveyor belt forced it against a metal plate.

“This incident could easily have been avoided if Synergy Health had carried out a proper assessment of the risks and made sure its employees were properly trained,”  said HSE inspector Christina Goddard.

Ms Goddard added that the risk of workers hands becoming trapped by moving conveyor belts is well known in the industry, saying that suitable guards should be in place.