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Accidents at work

Tin can factory worker had finger ripped off by machine

Two companies have been ordered to pay more than £35,000 after a tin can factory worker had his finger ripped off.

Brian Allen, of Aberffrwd, Tredegar, was feeding metal sheets into the conveyor of a coating machine when his wedding ring got caught and his finger was severed.

The 53-year-old has suffered continuing pain and discomfort and is unable to grip properly with one hand since the incident at Ardagh Metal Packaging at Dragon Parc, Abercanaid, Merthyr Tydfil, in January 2011.

Both his employer and the company that supplied the machinery, Crabtree of Gateshead, were prosecuted at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates court after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

A subsequent HSE investigation found that Crabtree had supplied and installed the machine without suitable guards, which allowed access to dangerous moving parts.

Ardagh failed to identify the risks to workers from the unguarded conveyor, and an Improvement Notice was served requiring the company to make the machine safe.

Ardagh Metal Packaging (UK) Ltd, of Salhouse Road, Norwich, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £11,754 in costs.

Crabtree of Gateshead Ltd, of the Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead, was fined £3,000 with costs of £14,570.

HSE Inspector Paul Cartwright, said: “Brian Allen sustained a painful injury as a result of an incident that was entirely avoidable.

“This case demonstrates the need for employers to carry out their own assessment of the risks posed by machinery, based on the circumstances in which the equipment will be used. It is not sufficient to assume that is safe as soon as it is purchased.

“Involving workers in the risk assessment process is crucial. Had the employees been consulted by either company it would have been apparent that hand feeding of sheets onto the conveyor took place. This would have alerted Ardagh and Crabtree to the need for adequate guarding, which has now been installed.”

Information on improving safety in the manufacturing industry is available at 

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