Every day, across many industries, accidents occur in the workplace. Some accidents are worse than others, for a certain young man who knows this all too well, he now has to face every day of his life without three of his fingers. This would be depressing for any of us, and it will certainly impact on his life, together with his team mates and the company.

Sansetsu (U.K) Limited, an international manufacturer has been prosecuted after a worker lost three fingers in a bubble wrap making machine at a Buckinghamshire factory.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Sansetsu (U.K) Limited for breaching health and safety regulations. Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court heard that Daniel Winters, 29, from Leighton Buzzard, was cleaning debris from the machine at the factory in Tilbrook in Milton Keynes, when his right hand became caught on an in-running nip and was trapped between two powered rollers. The machine was running and the plastic material inside was at more than 200 degrees centigrade in temperature. As a result, Mr. Winters suffered severe injuries – including losing the majority of three fingers, on his right hand. He has returned to work but in a different capacity due to his injury.

The HSE investigation found there was no guarding in place to prevent access to the dangerous parts of the machine and the company was issued with an Improvement Notice. This has now been complied with.

After the hearing, HSE’s inspector Karl Howes said:

“Running nips are a common hazard in many industries and all machines should be guarded to prevent human contact with the dangerous parts. When machines are used with very hot plastics, these can be very dangerous.

“Employers using this sort of equipment need to make sure there is adequate guarding and if Sansetsu (U.K) Limited had taken the simple and inexpensive step of installing one, then this incident would never have happened.”

Sansetsu (U.K) Limited, of Bradbourne Drive, Tilbrook in Milton Keynes, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,742.

Count the fingers on your hand, and calculate if you can, what life might be only being able to count to seven! Take the steps today to ensure the safety of your work environment, and those affected by it. BS OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health & Safety is fast becoming a necessity for any successful organisation.

Demonstrating rigorous occupational health and safety performance to employees, shareholders and clients is of increasing concern to organisations of all types. Stringent legislation and developing economic and social policies result in a requirement to demonstrate compliance to BS OHSAS 18001.

Contact IMSM today on 01793 688990 to find out more on the international standard that helps to protect us all.

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