Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Equipment supplier fined after County Durham worker's hand severed

A worker from County Durham had his hand severed while carrying out maintenance on glass cutting machinery a court heard. The worker was investigating a fault on a new tilt table with a colleague at a glass manufacturers.

Suspended above his right wrist was a large laminated glass sheet measuring six metres by three metres and weighing around almost a tonne. The worker had his right arm extended with a mirror in his hand so he could check the status of a sensor relating to the release of the glass onto the table.

But when a colleague moved past another sensor on the tilt table the glass sheet was released, falling onto the maintenance technician’s wrist and severing his hand.

Surgeons reattached his hand with partial success and he was off work for several months while recovering from his injuries.

The table was part of a glass cutting line manufactured and installed by an external company at the workers place of work just four months earlier.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the external company.

An HSE investigation found that there were faults within the programme controlling the movement of the glass as it allowed the glass sheet to be released, even when an emergency stop had been activated and that this fault was exacerbated by the installation of the new tilt table and the failure to integrate it properly with the existing equipment.

The incident occurred due to a fault on a new glass cutting line which had been installed by an external company and they were prosecuted as they had not complied with the legal duties imposed on installers of machinery. The guilty company  was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £150,000

After the case HSE Inspector Martin Baillie said:

"This horrific incident should never have happened. Once he had put the table into an emergency stop condition, it should not have been possible to release the glass.”

"Installers of machinery need to ensure that new equipment is compatible with the existing equipment and that the complete line complies with the essential safety requirements. That includes ensuring machinery is unable to move suddenly when an emergency stop has been activated."

The injuries suffered by the injured worker could have been prevented had the external company, who had installed the machinery, complied with and implemented the correct safety requirements.

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook

Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons)
Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

1 comment:

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