14th May 2014
A man from Clitheroe could make a personal injury claim against the engineering firm he was working form when he suffered a hand injury that has prevented him from returning to work.
Michael O'Brien was working at Jex Engineering's new factory in Leyland in the December of 2009 when the incident occurred. South Ribble magistrates' court heard that Michael was installing a new machine at the factory, when his hand became caught in the chuck of the drill he was using to drill holes into a steel plate.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the drill in question was missing its protective guard both when the company hired the drill and when it issued it to Michael to use for the job. The company was also found to have indicated that the drill did have the guard in place when it was filling in the relevant paperwork.
As a result of the hand injury and the findings of the subsequent investigation, Jex Engineering pleaded guilty to breaching Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and was fined £4,000, alongside £3,250 costs. Further expenditure could come if Michael decides to make a personal injury claim against the firm.
After the case, the hand injury victim remarked that "you just expect employers to know what they're doing when it comes to health and safety," adding that he now found it difficult to grip with his left hand, meaning that everyday things like holding a fork "now take real effort".
Allen Shute, from the HSE, commented that "these injuries have had a devastating impact on an engineer who relies on being able to use his hands for his job. Sadly, he has been unable to find work since the incident."
HSE stats show that finger, hand and wrist injuries accounted for 25,989 injuries out of a total of 121,541 workplace incidents that occurred in 2009/2010. Out of this number, 7,459 were deemed as being serious, such as the hand injury sustained by Michael.
He could be convinced to make a personal injury claim after the success experienced by Wayne Miller from Cumbria, who was awarded £300,000 after his sleeve was pulled into a machine. Even after reconstructive surgery, he has been left with no grip in his left hand due to extensive nerve damage in his wrist.