Firm fined for health and safety

A company in Northumberland has been fined thousands of pounds after an apprentice was forced to have his finger amputated.

The 18-year-old’s left hand was crushed in machinery during his apprenticeship at Cramlington-based Miller UK Ltd last March.

South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court fined the firm £8,000 and ordered them to pay £894.95 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The teenager was working on a large guillotine cutting a piece of metal at the premises, and as he loaded metal into the machine, his left hand got stuck between the clamps and the blade.

As well as having his index finger amputated, he also broke another finger.

HSE Inpector Laura Catterall said: “This young man is now living with a permanent impairment but his injuries could have easily been avoided had Miller UK Ltd adequately assessed the risks, which would have spotted that the guard was not effective.

“This failing was compounded by poor maintenance and a breakdown in the fault reporting system – which together led to one of its workers suffering severe injuries.

“Guards and safety systems are there for a reason and companies have a legal duty of care to ensure they are properly fitted and working effectively at all times.”