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Crystal company sentenced over injury to worker

Laura Ponsford, who was 21 at the time of the incident, had the middle finger of her right hand torn off while operating a drill to widen the neck of a glass bottle.

Preston Crown Court heard the investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident at Greatdale Ltd (trading as Cumbria Crystal) found the firm had failed to prevent operatives from accessing dangerous parts of machinery.

Mrs Ponsford, 21, had only been working at the defendant’s premises at The Lakes Glass Centre, Ulverston, for one year and has since left the company.

The court heard she was using a ‘pillar drill’ to widen (or ream) the neck of a glass bottle. The chuck and reamer were unguarded.  Mrs Ponsford was wearing latex gloves while performing this task, however the glove on her right hand became entangled within the rotating parts of the reamer resulting in the middle finger of her hand being severed.

She underwent 10 hours of surgery to reattach the finger but unfortunately she was later told the operation had not been successful and had to undergo a further operation to have the finger surgically amputated to below the second knuckle.

HSE told the court the incident could have been prevented if a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had taken place with regard to the drill and practicable control measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery had been in place.

Greatdale Limited (trading as Cumbria Crystal) of The Lakes Glass Centre, Oubas Hill, Ulverston, Cumbria, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £15,000.

Added: 16-05-2016
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