A manufacturing company has been fined $236,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $32,500 after one of its workers had his hand crushed in a machine.  The machine did have a guard to stop employees putting their hand into the machine while it was being operated, but unfortunately the guard had had a hole cut in it to allow the manufacture of a particular piece of equipment some months before.  The hole in the guard was covered over, but it was easy for employees to remove this temporary cover.  The employee removed the cover and placed his hand inside the machine while he operated the machine resulting in his hand being crushed.  As a result of the injury the employee lost three and a bit fingers on his hand.

The employer should have ensured that its machinery was effectively guarded and that such guards were not modified so it was possible for a worker to come in contact with moving parts of the machine.  The employer should have also conducted a risk assessment before the machine was operated following modification to its guard.  The employer should also have ensured there was effective training and monitoring of workers on using the machine.  It should also have enforced its own safety systems by ensuring that the safety start-up check on the machine was completed.

Alan Knowsley
Health & Safety Lawyer