Firm fined after worker injured by factory drill
AFIRM which makes the ‘Macclesfield Step’ has been fined after a worker’s hand became entangled around a factory drill.
Family run Stormguard Ltd, based at Regency Mill on Chester Road, produces metal sills, also known as the Macclesfield Step, which are used to deflect rainwater from the bottom of doors.
The firm has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after an investigation found it had ignored warnings by its own health and safety officer about how a machine was being used.
On Wednesday, October 1, Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court heard a 36-year-old worker from Macclesfield had been using the drill to produce metal sills when the glove on his right hand became caught, pulling his hand around the rotating drill bit. The third finger on his right hand was dislocated and fractured, and his little finger was also fractured.
He had only been working at the factory for a couple of weeks when the incident happened.
The HSE investigation found that the guard on the drill was inadequate and that it had become common practice for workers to wear gloves while using the drill, despite the risk of gloves becoming entangled.
The court was told that Stormguard’s own health and safety officer had identified inadequate guarding on the drill in a written report more than a year before the incident.
He also raised the issue of workers wearing gloves while using drills, but no action was taken, the HSE claimed.
Stormguard Ltd was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £4,377 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Speaking after the hearing, Deborah Walker, HSE inspector, said: “There was simply no need for this incident to have happened, especially as Stormguard’s own health and safety officer had raised the issue with the company. The employee was lucky to escape with relatively minor injuries, but they could easily have been much worse.
“There’s absolutely no point in manufacturers hiring health and safety officers if they’re not going to listen to their advice. Risk assessments should be acted on – not put on a shelf to gather dust.”
A spokesman for Stormguard said: “Whilst the accident is clearly regrettable, the company has acted promptly and responsibly in assisting and cooperating with the HSE investigation and the Magistrates agreed that there was no suggestion of cutting corners and accepted that the company did not put profit before safety.
“The company has never been prosecuted by the HSE in its 204-year history and we have thoroughly reviewed our health and safety policies and procedures and implemented new and improved systems to ensure that there could be no repeat of this incident.”
A large number of staff have since completed the IOSH Managing Safely Qualification.
Stormguard originally formed in 1810 as Green and Stringers and has continuously traded in Macclesfield since this time, some 204 years, providing employment for the local community.
The firm operates five businesses within the town, including Macclesfield Day Nursery, which is an non-profit organisation.
●● Stormguard Ltd, on Chester Road, has been fined
●● The victim was using the above drill when his glove became stuck