Firm fined after worker in­jured by fac­tory drill

Macclesfield Express - - BARLOW’S BRIEF - RHI­AN­NON MCDOWALL

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

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