Recent prosecutions – worker loses fingers to unguarded machinery 

A manufacturing company has been fined more than fined £66,000 following an accident involving unguarded machinery. 

An employee lost portions of two fingers after getting his hand caught in a machine used to produce face masks. The worker attempted to fix the mechanism after noticing the material was not correctly feeding into it. 

With the machine still running, the worker opened the opened doors (which were already slightly open) and tried to adjust the material. The employee’s hand was caught in the machine and most of his little finger and ring finger were ripped off. 

Following a three-day hospitalisation, the man now suffers from debilitating pain on an ongoing basis and is unable to do manual work. 

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that his employer failed to provide suitable guarding around its HX machines. The company also failed to undertake and prepare a risk assessment before the machines were used. Employees were not adequately trained on the safe use of machinery nor properly supervised while operating a machine with its guards open.

Reduce machine-related hazards at your builders merchant 

To prevent accidents, your machinery must be properly maintained and guarded at all times. Here’s a quick guide to reducing machine risks across your sites. 

  • Keep machinery fit for purpose with a routine maintenance schedule and stringent pre-use checks.  
  • Train staff on machinery use and supplement their knowledge with regular refresher training.  
  • Include machinery and guards in your risk assessment process.
  • Make it clear that removing or overriding guards is strictly forbidden. Ensure the policy is understood and enforced at all levels of your business.  
  • Display safety signage to alert workers to machinery hazards.  
  • Ensure staff know how to use emergency stop controls. 
  • Train workers on what to do in the event of an accident. 

Get bespoke support from an Opus Safety specialist  

Work with us, and we’ll help you create a culture of compliance with custom safety programmes and targeted training.

For business-minded guidance and recommendations, get in touch on or 0330 044 4015.