A maintenance worker, employed at a factory in Runcorn had one finger amputated and another two damaged in an accident involving a piece of machinery.

The chemical firm he worked for have been prosecuted for failing to comply with basic safety guidelines which could have prevented the accident from happening.

Health and Safety guidelines advise that gloves should not be worn by workers operating metalworking lathes as they create a danger of the glove being dragged into the machine; however instead of following this advice, Ineos Enterprises Ltd introduced a policy where gloves had to be worn by most workers across the site.

Workers were reprimanded if they were seen working without gloves and the injured maintenance worker was reminded to wear his gloves by his line manager on the morning of the accident.  His glove became caught in the rotating mechanism of the machine and his hand was pulled in.

Machine had not been fitted with safety guards

The investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that not only had Ineos Enterpises Ltd failed to assess whether their glove policy could lead to additional risks or hazards but they also discovered that 3 machines including the metalworking machine which injured this man had not been fitted with safety guards.  The company admitted breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were fined £12,000 with £6,607 costs to pay.

Mhairi Duffy, the investigating inspector at HSE, said: “New guidance was introduced nearly six years ago on not wearing gloves while using metalworking machines, but Ineos failed to keep up to date with the latest health and safety advice”.

Matthew Tollitt, a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Serious Injuries Team said: “There really is no excuse for accidents like these, when there is clear guidance in place to prevent them”.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2011/coi-nw-36ineos.htm