A Wigan manufacturer has been sentenced after a worker lost part of his index finger in a drilling machine.

The 46-year-old employee from Leigh was drilling holes through an iron bar when his right hand got caught in the drill. His index finger was severed below the first joint, his middle finger was badly cut, and his ring finger was dislocated.

B&B Group Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at its factory on Dobson Parkway in Ince on 24 September 2009. The HSE investigation found the company failed to provide a machine guard around the drill bit to protect employees working on the equipment.

The court heard the drill took 30 seconds to stop after being switched off. It was still rotating as the worker reached to turn it on again after moving the iron bar to drill another hole. The glove on his right hand got caught in the rotating mechanism and pulled his hand into the machine.
B&B Group Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company, of West Bridgewater Street in Leigh, was fined £12,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,703 at Trafford Magistrates’ Court in Sale on 21 January 2011.

Adam McMahon, the investigating inspector at HSE, said:
“A worker has suffered a life-long injury to his right hand because B&B Group did not make sure basic health and safety measures were in place at its Wigan factory.

“Manufacturers who fail to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery are breaking the law and we will continue to take enforcement action against them.

“If there had been a guard around the rotating drill at the factory then the worker’s injuries would almost certainly have been avoided. This case highlights how important it is for manufacturers to make sure the health and safety of staff is their top priority.