Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Teenager Loses Four Fingers at Work
Posted by David Cant on November 8, 2012
1 Comment

A young apprentice was working on a machine when he lost four of his fingers in an unnecessary accident.  The 18 year old man, who has asked not to be named, was an apprentice for W P Metals Ltd based near Walsall.  On his fifth week in his new position he was helping a worker use a tube expanding machine. The man wasn’t trained and had not received any authorisation allowing him to use the poorly guarded machine.

The accident occurred in February 2012. The man’s hand was trapped in a swagger machine. Swagger machines are used to enlarge the end of metal tubes in order for smaller tubes to be inserted inside. In the accident his four fingers were taken clean off.  The surgeons were able to reattach two but sadly his little finger and his ring finger were unable to be saved. Now the teenager faces life with a disfigurement that will not go away. He also has to struggle with many small tasks such as dressing and undressing.

No Supervision, an Untrained Worker and No Safe System of Work

The apprentice had been lining up for a fellow worker. He had been shown how to use the machine but he wasn’t supervised properly. The worker he was assisting should not have been using the machine at all.  The company had not made sure that the machine had the proper safety guards in place. Safety guards are essential as they can put a barrier between workers and the dangerous moving parts of the machine.  The firm also failed to create a safe system of work for the employees operating the machine.

The company, W P Metals had hired the young man as an apprentice for a three month period. The system of work that was being used was not safe, there were no guards and therefore they were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive.  The firm appeared in court and pleaded guilty the Health and Safety at Work Act at Walsall Magistrates Court. They were fined £8,000 and an additional £2,740 must also be paid to cover court costs.

Protect Your Workers

All machines pose risks to the operators. It is a legal requirement to ensure that the dangerous parts of the machine are covered by an adequate safety guard. As an employer it is also your duty to ensure the workers are trained and properly supervised when necessary to help reduce the risks of accidents occurring.

Health and safety Consultants can help all employers to meet their legal duties. If you need to find ways of keeping your workers safe and not exposed to risks there are multiple health and safety services available. If you would like to discuss any of these services or find out how our consultants can help you simply call us on 0800 1488 677.


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 Services, Workplace Health and Safety, Workplace Safety

One Comment

  1. November 27, 2012 at 8:29 am

    In any industrial company worker should be provided with proper training to operate any machine.Besides training they should be guided how to save them for any mishappening in the firm through health and safety consultant.

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