25th Feb, 2022 Read time 1 minute

R. Briggs Sheetmetal Fabrication Ltd fined after apprentice’s finger crushed

R. Briggs, who specialise in manufacturing canopies and ventilation ducting has been fined after an employees hand became trapped within a swaging machine resulting in serious injury.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how on 14 October 2019, an apprentice of R Briggs Sheetmetal Fabrication Ltd, was instructed how to operate a swaging machine by another apprentice and a trainee. After carrying this process out on approximately four pieces of tubing with supervision, the apprentice was left to proceed on their own, unsupervised.  Whilst conducting the task, fabric from the safety glove that the apprentice was wearing, got caught between the rotating wheels of the swaging machine.  On releasing the foot pedal, the wheels took a few seconds to stop, drawing the apprentice’s hand between them. The apprentice suffered a crushed fingertip and fracture resulting in being not able to work for 2 months.

A HSE investigation into the incident found that R. Briggs Sheetmetal Fabrication had not performed a risk assessment for using the swaging machine or implemented any safe systems of work including recognising that the gloves presented a drawing-in and entanglement hazard. Staff were not provided with adequate training and additional risks presented by a young, inexperienced person working with machinery had not been assessed.

R.Briggs Sheetmetal Fabrication Ltd of Bond Street, Colne, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,682.

HSE inspector Leanne Ratcliffe spoke after the hearing: “This incident could so easily have been avoided. Employers should ensure they carry out an assessment of the risks and put in safe system of works for the operation of all machinery. Companies should be aware of their responsibility to recognise the way in which their employees are working. Employers should also be aware of the use of gloves when operating machinery where there is a risk of entanglement.”

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