A Bridgend engineering company has been prosecuted after an employee’s hand was crushed in an unguarded hydraulic press.
Bridgend Magistrates’ Court heard that Paul Dobbins, 45, from Porth, was using a hydraulic press at TB Davies (UK) Ltd to press bearings into a steel pivot block.
On 12 March 2013, Dobbins was holding a bearing in place with his left hand and as he pushed the foot pedal to lower the press he turned to speak to a colleague next to him. The press came down on his hand, injuring his thumb and pulling the skin from his index finger.
Dobbins required a skin graft on his finger and was unable to return to work for over six months. He has lost movement and feeling in his left hand, leaving him unable to drive a car or take part in a number of social activities. Mr Dobbins has since lost his job and has suffered from emotional and financial stress.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that TB Davies (UK) Ltd failed to ensure that the work was carried out safely and did not have sufficient guarding on the machine to protect employees against crushing injuries up to the point of the incident.
T B Davies (UK) Ltd, of Waterton House, Brocastle Avenue, Bridgend, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,200 after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Simon Breen said:“This incident could have been entirely prevented if TB Davies adequately guarded the machinery – as all employers have a duty to. As a result, Mr Dobbins has suffered a painful and avoidable injury.