IAC Plastics fined after worker injures hand

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An employee at a Burnley plastics firm narrowly avoided severing his fingers when his hand came into contact with a rotating blade, a court has heard.

The 43-year-old from Bury, who has asked not to be named, suffered damage to the index finger on his right hand in the incident at Industrial Anti Corrosives in Dunnockshaw, which trades as IAC Plastics.

Reedley Magistrates' Court in Burnley was told that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has investigated several similar incidents at other factories in the past where workers have lost fingers or suffered permanent damage to their hands.

The court heard the company had carried out a risk assessment in 2007 where it identified the need to fit guards on several machines, including the one used by the injured worker. However, it failed to act on this.

The machines were also left unguarded for two months after the incident, until HSE inspectors served the company with three Prohibition Notices requiring guards to be fitted.

Industrial Anti Corrosives pleaded guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to prevent access to dangerous machine parts.

The company, of Manchester Road in Dunnockshaw, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,991 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David Myrtle said: "The employee was lucky not to have lost several fingers when his hand came into contact with the rotating cutting tool at the IAC Plastics factory.

"There was simply no point in the company carrying out a risk assessment four years earlier if it wasn't going to act on the findings. The firm knew the machines needed to have guards fitted but did nothing about it.

"We investigate several incidents every year where workers lose fingers in machinery. It's only by chance that the worker wasn't more seriously injured in this case."