Severed hand leads to fine

Posted on 30 Mar 2011 by The Manufacturer

Plastics manufacturer Matrix Polymers has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive after a worker severed his hand in an accident at the company’s factory in Knowsley, Merseyside.

Forty-two year old Gary McKeown had his hand caught in rotating parts of a blender in the accident in 2009. Doctors were able to reattach the hand but Mr McKeown lost his fingers and thumb. He has been unable to return to work since.

HSE sought prosecution for safety failings after its investigation found that the locking mechanism on the machine had been broken for more than a year, and that a wire mesh guard over the hatch had been tied back. The safety mechanism should have stopped the machine operating when the guard was not in place.

Investigating inspector at HSE, Harry Baker, said: “The machine was in use every day, for up to 24 hours a day, so it was almost inevitable that someone would eventually be injured.”

At Knowsley Magistrates’ Court last week, the company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to prevent access to dangerous machine parts. It was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £3,500 in costs.

“It is vital that manufacturing firms make sure that dangerous parts on machines are properly guarded to prevent further injuries of this kind,” added Baker.

According to HSE, 25 workers were killed and more than 4,000 suffered major injuries in the manufacturing industry in Great Britain last year.

Matrix Polymers has a site in Northampton, as well as on Merseyside, and has further facilities in Poland, Australia and New Zealand. It supplies raw materials to the rotational moulding industry.