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Norfolk manufacturer prosecuted for guarding failure

13-09-2012

A manufacturer of steel building materials has been fined for safety failings after an employee sustained a serious hand injury on a poorly guarded machine in Norfolk.

Antonio Pires, aged 63, from Watton, was operating a power press to form sheet metal at Worldwide Steels Limited, trading as Sabrefix, in the town when the incident occurred on 18 May last year.

On 10 September, Norwich Magistrates' Court heard that he was attempting to pull material through a gap in a guard on the machine when his right hand caught in the tooling. His index finger was completely severed and he also lost part of his ring finger, although this was surgically repaired.

Mr Pires has been unable to return to work as a result of his injuries and is still undergoing medical treatment.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that although guarding was in place, it was inadequate because it failed to prevent access to dangerous moving parts. In addition, the inspection also found that the company had failed to perform daily checks on the power presses as required by law or to provide systems for instruction and training for the operators of the power presses. And despite having complied with the prohibition notice served at the time of the incident, a further visit four months later identified that the company had again failed to ensure the same press involved in the accident was properly guarded.

Worldwide Steels Limited, of the Threxton Road Industrial Estate, Watton, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, two counts of Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and one count of Regulation 33 of the same regulations. The company was fined a total of £26,800 and ordered to pay £14,369 in costs as well as a £15 victim surcharge.

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