A worker has suffered serious injury to his left hand when it was trapped in a stone cutting machine which has lead to two firms being fined as a result of the incident.

On 17 November 2014, the Magistrates Court in Swindon heard that Richard Hale was cleaning the machine when the accident occurred in March 2013.

His hand became caught when part of his glove was dragged by a moving blade motor carriage into the narrow gap between that and the support frame.

Mr Hale was admitted to hospital with the skin, muscles and tendons stripped from the back of his left hand. After surgery, he still suffers stiffness in his hand, a bent middle finger and restricted finger movement.

After an Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation it was found that Windsmere Stone and Granite Ltd, the employees of Richard Hale, had bought the machine from Waters Group Ltd.

The machine had been imported and initially made for an Australian company. It came with a CE marking suggesting that it complied with European safety standards, which it did not. It was found adequate safeguards had not been applied to the machine to prevent accidents of this kind.

Windsmere Stone & Granite Ltd were found to have not checked to ensure the machine they had bought was safe for use. They were fined £2 000 and ordered to pay £3 337 in costs when they pleaded guilty to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations SI 1998/2306.

Waters Group Ltd were also found to have supplied an unsafe machine. They were fined £2 000 and ordered to pay £5 020 in costs when they pleaded guilty to a breach of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations SI 2008/1597.

Andy Shaw, HSE inspector commented on the accident: “This case highlights the need for employers to take reasonable steps to ensure that machines they buy and put into use are actually safe, whatever the manufacturers or suppliers may claim in documentation, or through CE marking.”

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