Business Handed Financial Sanction Over Severed Fingers

On 8th March 2023 industry oversight body, the Health and Safety Executive published into the public domain its decision to hand down a significant sanction of just over seventy thousand pounds to a business specialising in the making of facemasks. The financial sanction imposed was so significant because it was in connection with an accident at a site operated by the business in the north of England whereby a member of staff who was carrying out his day-to-day duties for his employer in the wee small hours appears to have had some digits on his hand cut off when his hand became trapped in some industrial equipment.      

What Happened In The Case?

The shift of the member of staff appears to have been proceeding without much ado and he was on the night shift which involved using a piece of industrial machinery producing face masks. Matters escalated and he seems to have identified a technical. It appears to have spotted that instead of the material used to make the masks entering the machine in a flat position, it instead appeared to have been folding up. The member of the workforce attempted to carry out a further investigation to see if there was anything he could do to rectify the perceived problem. In this regard he proceeded to access the affected area of the piece of manufacturing equipment where the issue involving the material was located via a doorway which seems to have been left ajar. The member of the workforce seems to have made the somewhat fateful decision to access the machine via this entrance at the time when the piece of industrial machinery was operating. Whilst he was accessing the mechanism he attempted to rectify the problem by changing the position of the material in the machine. The decision by the member of the workforce to gain access to the internal operational parts of the machinery does not appear to have been a wise one as matters later took a significantly dark turn for the worse when he found himself in the position whereby his right hand became trapped in the piece of manufacturing machinery. The incident was not for the faint-hearted as he ended up in the unenviable position of having some digits on his hand cut off by the mechanism of the equipment. As a consequence of the incident the member of the workforce was transported to the hospital whereby he was admitted and stayed for a period of seventy-two hours. Sadly he has not been able to make a full recovery and is reportedly still to this day suffering from the injuries sustained in the incident. He is unable to carry out his normal day-to-day working activities of a manual nature, seems to be suffering from excruciating pain and it is having substantial impact on his daily life.  

What Did The Health and Safety Executive Say?

The Health and Safety Executive commented that the facemask manufacturer has violated section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which demands that businesses safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of staff, have safe work systems in place and comply with the expected legal levels. The Regulator observed that the manufacturing business had: 


  • overlooked its obligation to install safeguarding measures on the equipment which would have prevented workforce members from accessing it
  • not conducted a proper risk assessment 
  • not provided any training to its staff on using the equipment in compliance with health and safety regulations and
  • fallen short of its obligations to oversee the equipment. 

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