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Inadequate machine guarding to blame as steelworker has fingers amputated

07 January 2014

Tata Steel has been fined for safety failings after a worker sustained serious injuries to his hand at the company’s works in Llanelli, South Wales.

Llanelli Magistrates heard (3 January) the man, an employee for 34 years, was working on a production line at the Tata site in Trostre on 6 December 2012 when his left hand became trapped in a pair of steel pinch rolls.

He suffered crush injuries that led to the amputation of half his index finger and part of his middle finger.

A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered there was insufficient guarding equipment on the machinery the worker was using. Tata Steel UK had not properly assessed the risks to workers of using the equipment, even though it clearly represented a significant risk because operatives had access to dangerous parts.

"It is shocking that a company of this standing failed to achieve compliance on such a basic level of machinery guarding, thereby putting their employees at risk. This case should serve as a warning that HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies where key safety devices are not fitted to potentially dangerous machinery.”


Tata Steel UK, of Millbank, London, was fined a total of £25,000 and ordered to pay £8,320 in costs after pleading guilty to three separate breaches of Health and Safety legislation.

After the hearing HSE inspector Steve Lewis, said: "This was a completely needless and entirely preventable incident that left an employee with a permanent impairment.

"Tata Steel UK failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment of the equipment their workers were using. They failed to provide machinery guarding to current standards, did not prevent access to dangerous moving parts of machinery and failed to provide a safe system for managing and controlling the risks associated with a production line.

"It is shocking that a company of this standing failed to achieve compliance on such a basic level of machinery guarding, thereby putting their employees at risk. This case should serve as a warning that HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies where key safety devices are not fitted to potentially dangerous machinery.”

 
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