Worker loses index finger in uPVC cutter

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A Macclesfield window manufacturer has been fined after one of its employees had a finger cut off by a rotating saw.

East Cheshire Glass was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at its factory on London Road on 30 July 2010.

Macclesfield Magistrates' Court heard that the 26-year-old from Cheadle Hulme was positioning a piece of uPVC under the circular blade while it was still running. His left hand came into contact with it and his index finger was severed to below the second knuckle.

The court was told that, in order to keep production moving swiftly, the machine would not be switched off in between cuts. This meant it was common for the unguarded saw blades to be raised and left running while pieces of plastic were placed underneath by hand.

The guard on the blade had also been adjusted to stop it hitting the pieces of plastic as the saw came down, but this meant several inches of the blade were left exposed.

East Cheshire Glass Ltd was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £3,342 in costs after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Jane Carroll said: "These kinds of injuries are sadly all too common in the manufacturing industry so it is vital companies make sure suitable guards are in place.

"If the guards on the blades were causing problems then East Cheshire Glass should have adapted them in a way that meant the blades were still fully protected when they were raised.

"The company's priority should have been the safety of its employees but instead one of its workers suffered a permanent injury when his hand came into contact with the unguarded rotating blade."