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Automotive component manufacturer fined after worker loses fingers

A firm specialising in manufacturing rubber components for the automotive industry has been prosecuted after a worker suffered disabling hand injuries.

The 46-year-old worker from Coalville, Leicestershire, who has asked not to be named, has been left with only the thumb on his left hand fully intact, after the incident at Schlegel Automotive Europe Ltd's Coalville factory on 4 March 2010.

Leicester Magistrates Court heard he was clearing a blockage around the heated nozzle of a 20 tonnes injection-moulding machine when the nozzle was pushed through his left hand, causing severe injuries which later resulted in the amputation of all four fingers. As the worker is left-handed, his injuries have made him unable to carry out some simple everyday tasks and he has been off work for 17 months.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the machine was in a poor state of repair. The interlock system on the guard that should have prevented the incident had not been maintained, and therefore it failed to operate properly. A subsequent audit of other equipment in the factory found safety improvements to a number of other injection-moulding machines were necessary.

Schlegel Automotive Europe Ltd, of Beveridge Lane, Bardon Hill, Coalville, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £9,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £6,584.


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