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Firm fined £10,000 over lost finger

A £10,000 fine has been handed to West Midlands firm Building Adhesives after a worker lost part of his finger in a workplace accident.

Building Adhesives, based in Trentham, near Stoke, pleaded guilty to breaching safety rules after the man caught his hand on a screw conveyor while loading rubber-filled fabric bags into a hopper.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ Court heard the machine had been modified incorrectly by the building firm, which had replaced a fixed guard with an ill-fitting interlocked guard that enabled the man to catch his hand on mechanical moving parts.

Surgeons were forced to amputate his middle finger past the first knuckle following the incident in July last year.

HSE inspector Mhairi Duffy said: “This incident would have been prevented had the guarding on the machine been fitted properly, or if there had been adequate systems in place to detect the failed guard before the accident.

“The fixed guard had been replaced with an incorrectly fitted interlocked guard meaning this was an incident waiting to happen.

“This man sustained serious injury and he was lucky that it was not worse.”

In addition to the fine, Building Adhesives was ordered to pay £4,000 costs towards the prosecution.