Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Cardiff Employee Seriously Severs Finger at Work
Posted by David Cant on June 25, 2012

An unguarded drill was being worked on by a young worker when he severed his fingertips.  Vaughn Thomas was working for MIB Manufacturing Ltd in Cardiff in April 2011. The firm creates steel frames and panels which are used within the building industry. 21 year old Mr Thomas was given the responsibility of tightening the screws and bolts onto the steel panels when he was sent to the factory for the first time. However, when he arrived the panels were not yet ready for him to work on so he was given another task. The task was to help a colleague drill holes into the frames.

Gloves Increased the Risk of Injury on the Drill

While assisting with the drilling Mr Thomas was loading and unloading the frames on and off the machine. He was provided with gloves and worked through the morning without incident.  It wasn’t until his colleague was called away that Mr Thomas took over the act of drilling the holes. Unfortunately his glove was caught in the drill and his ring finger on his right hand was severed, from the first knuckle.

An investigation showed that MIB Manufacturing Ltd had not attached a safety guard onto the drill.  Safety guards are designed to protect anyone operating machines from the dangerous moving parts. They must be used on all machines, and so the Health and Safety Executive had no choice but to prosecute the firm for failing to do everything possible to protect the health and safety of their employees.

No Training, No Risk Assessment

Further investigation into the incident involving Mr Thomas showed he had not been given any training on how to use the drill.  He wasn’t left with any instructions and simply began working without any formal knowledge, seriously increasing the risk of an accident.  The use of the drill had not been risk assessed either so there were no safe methods of work established, which would have included the checking of the drill guard before work commenced on the drill.

MIB Manufacturing pleaded guilty and were fined £15,000, £9,947 in court costs were also awarded.  The company, which now trades under the name of Blaina Manufacturing, were also ordered to pay compensation of £3,000 to Mr Thomas.

A Common Accident with No Excuses

The health and safety consultants are aware of many incidents involving unguarded drills and machines. It is important to always perform risks assessments before anyone operates a drill for the first time, and the assessment must be reviewed. Guards must be attached and in the right position to protect the operators, and operators must be given training before they begin working on a new machine.

Lack of training for company owners, managers and even employees seriously increases the risks when working in the manufacturing industry. Training is also a legal requirement. There are no excuses for accidents such as the one involving Mr Thomas.  If you would like to receive training or make use of the many health and safety services provided by experts you can do so by calling 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, Health and Safety Consultancy, Health and Safety Services, Health and Safety Training, Workplace Health and Safety, Workplace Safety

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