Injuries to the hand occur all too frequently in the workplace, especially where the work conducted is physical in nature.
Unfortunately, many of these injuries could be prevented if only employers put the necessary precautions in place.
Worker Injured Using Saw
In a recent example reported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a worker for a joinery company lost a finger in a workplace accident. He had been using a circular saw to cut tapered strips of wood when his hand came into contact with the saw. He lost the tip of his left thumb and the majority of his first finger as a result of this incident.
When the HSE conducted an investigation into the incident, it found that the joinery company had failed to provide the worker with the necessary training in order to carry out this work in a safe and appropriate manner.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. It was fined £230,000 and ordered to pay costs of £ 1,779.
Worker Loses Two Fingers
In a second example, a company appeared in Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on health and safety charges after a worker lost his middle two fingers while trying to repair an entrance gate.
The court heard that a guide roller on the underside of the gate had collapsed and two employees were tasked by their line manager to make the repair.
The two workers attached a four leg lifting chain to a fork lift truck to lift the gate, which weighed in excess of 400kg. However, the chains were too long so were adjusted using a shortening hook. One of the men used the forklift to lift the gate approximately 18 inches above the ground so that his colleague could access the guide roller on the underside. As he reached under to do so the chains slipped and the gate fell onto his hand.
The man lost the ring finger and his middle finger up to the first knuckle on his right hand.
“This injury was easily prevented and the risks should have been identified,” said HSE inspector Eddy Tarn. “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in those safe methods along with effective supervision and monitoring.”
Man Suffers Dislocation
In a third incident, a man sustained injuries to his hand while working for an engineering company.
He was polishing a metal shaft on a lathe using emery cloth while wearing gloves. The glove appeared to snag and dragged his hand towards the rotating shaft. As a result of the incident he had stitches in his hand and dislocated his scaphoid bone.
The investigation revealed that no suitable assessments had been carried out to determine control measures for polishing, and there were no clear guidelines on safe ways to polish.
“Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working,” explained HSE inspector Laura Hunter. “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”
For further information on claiming compensation following a work-related incident then contact our specialist personal injury lawyers today.