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Royston Man loses his fingers

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Royston worker loses fingers on unguarded power hammer

A multinational precious metals and chemical company has appeared in court after an employee sustained a serious hand injury at a plant in Royston, Hertfordshire. The worker, who does not want to be named, severed two fingers whilst operating a 10-tonne power hammer at a site operated by Johnson Matthey Plc, on Orchard Road, on 30 March 2011.

Hertford Magistrates' Court heard on Friday 30 November that he was using the machine to crush waste pieces of metal when he inadvertently caught his left hand under the automatic hammer. Such was the force of the machine it crushed and effectively severed his index and middle fingers below the second knuckle. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and found the hammer was unguarded and wasn't being used in the correct manner. HSE also established that the machine was regularly used in this way - a dangerous practice that should have been stopped.

Johnson Matthey Plc, whose UK head office is based at Farringdon Street, London, was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay £2,194 in costs after pleading guilty to two charges under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company operates in more than 30 countries worldwide and employs almost 10,000 people at sites in North and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia and across Europe. After the hearing, HSE inspector Stephen Farthing said: "The injured employee was using this powerful machine inappropriately. It wasn't guarded and was unsuitable for the work he was doing. "It had become common practice within the company for the power hammer to be used in this way. Had better precautions been taken to make the machine safe and properly supervise activity, then the incident could have been prevented."

 

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