Hand slice accidents cost packaging firm over £2M

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Tata Steel was ordered to pay more than £2M for safety failings
Tata Steel was ordered to pay more than £2M for safety failings

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A firm that manufactures steel for food packaging has been ordered to pay more than £2M for safety failings, after two workers suffered injuries to their hands in two separate incidents.

Northampton Crown Court heard yesterday (July 26) how one employee, aged 26, of Tata Steel lost two-thirds of his left hand and his middle and ring fingers when he tried to clear a blockage on a steel tube manufacturing line.

In a separate incident, a team leader, aged 52, lost part of his little finger when his left hand was caught in a poorly-guarded machine.

Two Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigations, on September 12 2014 and February 19 2015, found Tata Steel failed to appropriately guard and manage the risks arising from dangerous parts of these items of machinery.

Tata UK Ltd of Millbank, London pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Fined a total of £1.98M

The company was fined a total of £1.98M – £185,000 for the first offence and £1.8M for the second offence – and ordered to pay costs of £22,500.

HSE inspector Mark Austin said after the hearing: “Guarding of dangerous parts of machinery is a fundamental of ensuring workers safety.

“HSE will not hesitate to hold those accountable who do not fulfill their legal obligations, especially if that results in someone receiving life changing injuries.”

‘Life changing injuries’

Tata Steel is the second firm to be fined for an accident involving a worker’s hands this month.

SPL International Ltd – a manufacturer of home brew drinks kits – was fined on July 11, after an employee’s right hand was severed​ at its factory in Ellesmere Port, Liverpool on October 21 2014.

It admitted to failing to carry out a risk assessment in relation to the risks arising while undertaking cleaning of a blender. The company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £7,004.

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