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Accident at work – man loses thumb

Metal beams lined up on top of each other
14th May 2014
Injury claims compensation could be won by a man in his fifties after he suffered an accident at work in which he lost his thumb.

A mechanical engineer became the victim of a hand injury while working for a company in Stourbridge, in which his hand was crushed while performing a lifting operation.

Mr Terrence Grove was employed by M I Engineering Company Ltd when he was using a rope sling attached to a crane.

The 55-year-old was attempting to lift a half-ton angle plate, only to find that disaster struck when the sling snapped.

The falling steel plate landed on the right hand of the mechanical engineer, causing his right hand to be crushed.

So severe was his hand injury that his thumb had to be amputated in hospital.

M I Engineering Company Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), following the incident at its factory in Bromley Street, Lye, on June 30th 2010.

Dudley Magistrates' Court heard that as a result of his accident at work, Mr Grove now has difficulty carrying out everyday activities.

He describes how he has problems with just holding pens, cutlery and tools – as well as the simple task of just getting dressed every day.

Mr Grove says he’s returned to work but needs to do everything using his left hand, which is proving difficult to do.

Otherwise he needs to get his colleagues to assist him in carrying out tasks, which is inconvenient for all concerned.

To make matters worse for Mr Grove, a further operation will be required later this year to remove a number of pins from his hand.

The HSE investigation that was carried out in response to the accident, found Mr Grove had been using the sling for several years without it being thoroughly examined and with no indication of its safe working load. 

The Lye company was also found to not have undertaken any risk assessments for the kinds of work being undertaken at the factory.

Inspector for the HSE, Angela Gallagher, feels the event was a preventable incident, but one that’s left a man permanently disabled.

She says: "It highlights the importance of properly managing health and safety in general, and in particular ensuring the risks from lifting heavy items are understood.

"M I Engineering did not have a health and safety system to monitor the use of lifting equipment or to ensure all the equipment was thoroughly examined."

 Reported by Fiona Campbell