Factory severed hand injury prompts HSE warning

The case of a plastics worker whose hand was severed by a factory blender has prompted a safety warning.

Gary McKeown, 42, was emptying plastic granules from the mixer when his hand got caught in rotating parts at Matrix Polymers in Prescot, Merseyside.

Knowsley magistrates heard the firm admitted breaching safety laws over a broken locking mechanism during the incident on 2 April 2009.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said firms must guard dangerous parts.

Doctors managed to reattach Mr McKeown's hand, but he lost his fingers and thumb.

An HSE investigation found that the locking mechanism on the machine had been broken for more than a year, and that a wire mesh guard over the hatch had been tied back.

'Inevitable injury'

The firm which has its head office at Tenter Road, Northampton, was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £3,500 in costs after the prosecution brought by the HSE.

It pleaded guilty to breaching safety regulations by failing to prevent access to dangerous machine parts at its factory on Caddick Road, Prescot.

HSE spokesman, Harry Baker: "This was a devastating, life-changing injury for Mr McKeown who has been unable to return to work for almost two years now due to the trauma he endured.

"The locking mechanism on the machine had been broken for up to 18 months, but nothing was done by Matrix Polymers to get it repaired.

"The machine was in use every day, for up to 24 hours a day, so it was almost inevitable that someone would eventually be injured.

"It is vital that manufacturing firms make sure that dangerous parts on machines are properly guarded to prevent further injuries of this kind."

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