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Worker Was Failed by Employers – Injured Hand Could Have Been Avoided
Posted by David Cant on May 14, 2012

A labourer working for a company in Southampton suffered a serious injury to his hands after an accident at work. Edmund Skweres was working on a machine which did not have the proper safety guards in place. His employers, the horticultural business A E Roberts, were investigated after the incident by the Health and Safety Executive, a prosecuted after they were found to have failed to do everything in their abilities to protect their employees.

Severed Hand Led to Pain and Medical Treatment

Mr Skweres was operating a root packing machine at A E Roberts Fruit Grower and Nursery Man in Shirrell Heath in February 2010. While he was working the hydraulic machine he tried to clear a blockage with his hands, unfortunately his hand got caught in the metal drive wheel and the rail used as a guard. He required 11 stiches to close the deep and painful cut on his right hand. This was caused by the drive wheel cutting through his gloves and slicing into his hand between the forefinger and his thumb.  After the incident Mr Skweres needed to take one month off work.

When the Health and Safety Executive investigated they discovered that the machine was not guarded as it should have been.  The guard would have stopped Mr Skweres being able to get his hand close to the wheel and prevented the accident from occurring.  The inspectors also discovered that the problem was not only limited to the root packer. Mr Skweres also worked on five other machines frequently, and each of them were missing the vital safety guards which should have been in place, thus putting the employee at constant risk.

Guilty Plea for Breaching Regulation

A E Roberts were prosecuted and they pleaded guilty for breaching one of the Regulations of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.  Regulation 11 states that all employers should ensure that measures are taken to prevent the access to parts of machinery or rotating stock bars.  Measures must also be taken to stop dangerous parts of machines from moving if a person enters into the danger zone. A E Roberts had breached this regulation purely by not having safety guards in place on their machines.

The company were fined £1000 for the breach and also ordered to pay £2000 in court costs. The inspector from the Health and Safety Executive said that there was no excuse for not having guards in place. It is vital that all companies which has machinery in the workplace pay attention to cases like this to ensure they are following the regulations and not putting their employees at needless risk.

Protect Your Employees

Risk assessments and audits can be used to highlight and correct problems like this. Health and safety consultants are able to help you ensure the safety of your employees through these two vital health and safety services. With eight workers killed in 2010/2011 due to moving machinery incidents, and over 1000 other injuries this is clearly a problem area which needs addressing. Call 0800 1488 677 to discuss health and safety services in more detail.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Health and Safety, Health and Safety Consultancy, Health and Safety Services, Workplace Health and Safety, Workplace Safety

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