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Segensworth firm fined after workers' fingers were sheared by guillotine
A HAMPSHIRE company has been prosecuted for safety failings after two of its workers each had the ends of their fingers sheared off by guillotine machines at work.
Both the injured workers’ ring fingers were “shaved to the bone” by the cutting blades as each was working on different machines in two separate incidents just weeks apart.
The two employees have since returned to work but they now suffer some impairment during day-to-day activities.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which investigated the two incidents said if the machines were properly guarded neither of the firm’s employees would have been injured.
The HSE said it investigated the incidents on April 12 and May 26 last year at Porvair Filtration Group Ltd in Segensworth, Fareham.
HSE found out that Porvair’s external safety adviser John Whiffin had produced risk assessments for the firm’s guillotines back in July 2010 and he deemed that the safety guards on the treadle-operated guillotines were both present and acceptable and therefore safe to use.
But Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard that the HSE found that one of the guillotines was not guarded at the back of the machine.
It also found the other was not properly guarded at the front or at the back of the machine.
Porvair Filtration Group Ltd pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 for failing to take effective measures to prevent employees coming into contact with dangerous moving machine parts.
The company was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay £20,358 in costs.
John Whiffin, of Eastleigh, admitted two charges under the same regulations in that Porvair’s offences were due in part by his actions or default. He was fined a total of £700 with £4,000 in costs.
After the hearing HSE inspector Joanna Woodcock said: “Standards for guarding non-powered treadle guillotines have been around for more than 35 years. Had the company guarded these machines properly neither of its employees would have been injured.
“Similarly advice on writing risk assessments is readily available and this process should have identified the inadequacy of the machines’ guarding. Had Mr Whiffin been familiar with these machines and correctly identified the risks the incident could have been avoided.”
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