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UK HSE: Worker loses fingers in crush injury during lifting operations

What happened

The UK HSE reports that a company has been sentenced after a worker lost his middle two fingers at work. The incident occurred whilst he was trying to repair a main entrance gate. A guide roller on the underside of the gate had collapsed and two employees were tasked by their line manager to make the repair.

What went wrong/causes

The two workers attached a four-leg lifting chain to a fork lift truck to lift the gate, which weighed in excess of 400kg. However, the chains were too long, so they were adjusted using a shortening hook. One of the men used the forklift to lift the gate approximately 45cm above the ground so that his colleague could access the guide roller on the underside. As he reached under to do so the chains slipped and the gate fell onto his hand. He lost the ring finger and his middle finger up to the first knuckle on his right hand.

Lessons learnt/actions taken

The Health & Safety Executive inspector commented that this kind of injury was easily prevented:

The risks should have been identified. Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in those safe methods along with effective supervision and monitoring.

Members may wish to review the following incidents:

Please also watch IMCA’s short video Be prepared to work safely – watch your hands

Safety Event

Published: 20 October 2017
Download: IMCA SF 26/17

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