Door firm fined after man’s hand crushed

A DOOR-making firm, based in Sheffield, has been ordered to pay out almost £50,000 after a machine operator suffered severe hand injuries while at work.

Hugo Valdes Vera, 37, from Loscoe in Derbyshire, was working for SIG Manufacturing in Langley Mill in February 2010, when his left hand became trapped between two heated platens in a multi-platen door press.

The company is registered to an address on Europa View at Sheffield Business Park.

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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told Derby Crown Court that Mr Valdes Vera had been working at the factory for a month when the accident occurred.

He was working at the rear of the machine, where there were no guards, when his hand became trapped.

The press had a two-hand control at the front. Visibility around the back of the press was restricted and employees used a “thumbs up” system to indicate when they were clear.

One of the employees operated the press, not realising Mr Valdes Vera was behind it. His hand was then trapped as the press closed.

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He lost part of three fingers and has not yet been able to return to work.

After the hearing last Thursday, January 12, HSE inspector Noelle Walker said: “This case demonstrates the importance of providing physical safety measures where they are practicable, instead of relying on informal systems of work where a mistake or misunderstanding can lead to such a serious injury.

“Mr Valdes Vera’s employers failed to ensure that measures were taken to prevent such an incident occurring.

“As a result, a man has suffered a life-changing injury and has been unable to perform many everyday tasks ever since.”

SIG Manufacturing Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £23,154.