Firm Fined for breaching Work Equipment Regulations

MIB Manufacturing fined over Blaina factory injury

A south Wales company has been fined after a worker lost a finger tip while using an unguarded drill, says the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Vaughan Thomas, 21, of Caerphilly, was injured at MIB Manufacturing's factory in Blaina, Blaenau Gwent in April 2011.

The Cardiff-based company admitted breaching work equipment regulations at Abergavenny magistrates court.

It was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,947 and £3,000 in compensation to Mr Thomas.

 

The HSE said it prosecuted the company after an investigation revealed it had failed to ensure its workers were protected from dangerous parts of machinery.

The executive said its investigation showed that Mr Thomas had not received any information, instructions or training on using the drill, and that it had been unguarded at the time of the incident.

The operation of the drill had not been risk assessed and there was no formal system in place for checking the drill guard, it said.

'Too common'

The court heard it was Mr Thomas's first time working at the Blaina factory and that he had been sent there to work on placing and tightening bolts and screwing boards onto steel panels.

However the panels were not yet ready and Mr Thomas was instead sent to help another employee who was drilling holes into steel frames.

HSE inspector Hugh Emment said serious incidents involving inadequately guarded drills were "unfortunately too common".

"As this incident illustrates, the wearing of gloves is often a significant factor as it greatly increases the risk of entanglement and serious injuries," said Mr Emment.

"Incidents like this often result in the injured person having to deal with significant long-term consequences for themselves and their families."

MIB Manufacturing, which produces light steel frames and panels for the building industry, pleaded guilty to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

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