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Doncaster man loses fingers in safety blunder

The company, Heaps, Arnold and Heaps Ltd, established since 1770, was fined by the Health and Safety Executive after a 43-year-old Doncaster man had his fingers severed in an unguarded machine.
Rotherham Magistrates were told that the highly experienced worker had just returned from holiday and was asked to operate one of the lead presses. He was not aware that the safety device on the machine had been removed while he was away.
Part of the process meant the worker had to put his hand into the machine to carry out routine cleaning. As he carried out this operation the press activated without warning, crushing his hand. His index and middle fingers were severed and his other fingers were badly crushed. The injuries left him needing prolonged medical and physiotherapy treatment, but he is fortunately on a phased return to work.
An investigation carried out by the HSE found that the safety interlock had been deliberately removed which meant that the machine could be operated while the protective guard was open.
The investigation also found the management systems to be lacking and there was incompetence around the machinery guarding standards.
Diane Parker, head of personal injury at Atherton Godfrey, said: “Workplace accidents of this kind are entirely preventable. Safety devices are installed for very good reasons and should never be tampered with. Unfortunately, accidents involving heavy industrial machinery inevitably result in severe injuries or even fatalities.”
Heaps, Arnold and Heaps Ltd, of Barbot Hall Industrial Estate, Rotherham, were fined £8,000 plus costs after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. An HSE inspector, said: “There were no systems in place to check the safety of machines and this employee was certainly not told that the machine had been left in a dangerous condition.”
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