Healthcare Manufacturer Fined after Worker Loses Thumb

Synergy Health (UK) Ltd  a healthcare manufacturer has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,573 by Leyland Magistrates’ Court after a 39-year-old employee at their factory in Chorely trapped his thumb in machinery and lost part of it 27 November 2011 . Following the incident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation and discovered that the guards on the dry wipes machine that the employee was using were inadequate, in addition to the fact that the worker had not been given proper training.

As the worker was using the machine, he reached into the tunnel that comes out of machine to in order to prevent it from being blocked by incorrectly cut wipes. His hand was subsequently caught in the conveyor belt. The conveyer belt forced the workers thumb against a metal plate and it was severed to the first knuckle. It was found that the company had failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment of the work that he was doing, so they were unaware of the risks his hands faced.

HSE Inspector Christina Goddard stated following the hearing –

“This incident could easily have been avoided if Synergy Health had carried out a proper assessment of the risks and made sure its employees were properly trained.

“The risk of workers hands becoming trapped by moving conveyor belts in well known in the industry and so it is important suitable guards are in place.

“If the guards the company installed following the incident had been there at the time then it is extremely unlikely the employee’s hand would have become trapped.”