A 26-year-old employee lost two-thirds of his left hand, and his middle and ring fingers, while trying to clear a blockage on a steel tube manufacturing line with unsuitable guarding, Northampton Crown Court heard. In a separate incident, a 52-year-old team leader lost part of his little finger after his left hand was caught during refresher training, again in an inadequately guarded machine.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that inappropriate steps were taken to guard users from dangerous parts of the machinery involved in the incidents, which happened in September 2014 and February 2015 respectively.
Mark Austin, an inspector at the HSE, said: “Guarding of dangerous parts of machinery is a fundamental of ensuring workers’ safety. HSE will not hesitate to hold those accountable who do not fulfil their legal obligations, especially if that results in someone receiving life-changing injuries.”
Tata UK Limited pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined a total of £1.98 million (£185,000 for the first incident, plus £1.8m for the second) and ordered to pay costs totaling £22,500.