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Tue August 16 2022

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Komatsu fined after worker's fingers severed

14 Dec 10 Plant manufacturer Komatsu UK has been fined £6,000 plus costs after an employee at its Birtley factory lost two fingers while drilling holes in steel plate.

John Watson, 55, from Wheatley Hill, County Durham, caught his right hand in the rotating parts of the machine and needed surgery to amputate his third finger and half his middle finger. He also had a bone removed from his hand. Mr Watson has worked at Komatsu for nearly twenty years but has been unable to return to work since.

Consett Magistrates' Court heard the investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), who brought the prosecution, revealed that using the drill was not part of Mr Watson's normal work but at the time of the incident he had been asked to make some storage racking for the factory.

The investigation found that at the time of the incident on 23 June 2009 there was no guard on the drill to prevent access to the rotating parts and it was not the first time the drill had been used without a guard.

The gloves that Mr Watson was wearing became entangled and drew his hand into the rotating parts. He had not received training in the use of the drill and the precautions needed to reduce the risk of entanglement.

Komatsu UK Ltd, of Durham Road, Birtley pleaded guilty of one breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,421.10.

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