York company fined after staffer severed fingers

York company fined after staffer severed fingers 25643

A conveyor supplier has been hit by a fine after a member of staff severed three fingers in an unguarded machine.

Grantham Magistrates' Court heard that Shaun Newcomb, 30, was working at a factory in Sewstern, Lincolnshire when the work accident took place.

As Mr Newcomb attempted to clear blocked wood from a conveyor, his right hand came into contact with the sprockets and chains that drove the machine - severing parts of his middle, ring and little finger.

The Lincolnshire man was rushed to hospital and underwent two operations. Since then he has made something of a recovery, but physiotherapy, cell generation treatment and counselling meant he could not work for nine months.

In fact, the situation was so distressing for Mr Newcomb, he has left his job as he could not face seeing the scene of the accident for fear it would make him anxious and depressed.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed the conveyor belt, which was supplied by Armistead Engineering of York, was not properly guarded and broke regulations.

This led the HSE to prosecute the North Yorkshire firm and it pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 for failing to protect people not in its employment, and was fined £6,667 with £5,715 in prosecution and other legal costs.

In a touching statement released after the trial, Mr Newcomb outlined how badly affected his life has been by his horrific injuries: "After it happened I felt agitated and kept losing my temper easily which was out of character for me.

"I went through a stage where I didn't want anyone to see my hand. I would keep it in my pocket whenever I went out and if I was in a shop I would give my wife the money to pay as I didn't want people talking about it."

Mr Newcomb added his young daughter will no longer hold his hand because of its disfiguration and this has caused massive distress for him.

By Francesca Witney