Normanton Brick Company fined after severed thumb accident

Normanton Brickworks
Normanton Brickworks

Normanton Brick Company has been fined £15,000 after a worker had has thumb severed and nearly lost his hand.

The 60-year-old victim was taken to Pinderfields Hospital following the incident in Altofts in December 2010.

Surgeons managed to reattach the hand where it had been partially separated, using nerve and tissue from his legs.

He also had to undergo skin grafts and several other restorative operations. He has not been able to return to work.

Leeds Crown Court heard how the worker stopped the double press brick-making machine so he could clean under the plates, but it restarted.

The press came down, severing his thumb and slicing though his hand.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the Greenfield Road based company, which has since ceased trading, hadn’t carried out a sufficient risk assessment for the machine.

Had there been one, it would have identified failings in the standard of guarding, particularly as workers often needed to access various parts of the machine.

Together these led to a high risk of severe injury, or death, to operators entering any of the many danger zones around the machine.

As well as the fine, the company was ordered to pay £6,307 costs after admitting breaching health and safety legislation.

After sentencing, HSE investigator Jackie Ferguson said: “This was a serious incident that could have been so easily avoided.”