Hand nailed to pallet prompts prosecution

Published:  12 October, 2009

PONTRILAS: A Herefordshire builders’ merchant has been prosecuted after a worker had his hand pulled in to a machine and nailed to a pallet.

Pontrilas Timber & Builders’ Merchants of Pontrilas, Herefordshire, has been fined £3500 and ordered to pay £8973 costs at Hereford Magistrates Court.

The company had pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 in the prosecution, brought by Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The employee was operating an automatic wooden pallet making machine on 28 March 2008 when the incident happened.  The machine started unexpectedly, drawing the man’s right hand in and trapping it beneath a beam of nailing hammers. It then nailed the man’s hand and wrist to the top of a pallet.  There was no guard or protective device across the front of the machine to prevent access to dangerous moving parts of the machinery.

HSE inspector Luke Messenger said: “This was a horrific incident that could have been easily prevented.“Automated machinery like this, where people are required to feed materials in, always runs the risk of trapping arms and hands. Guards or protective devices should be provided. The fact the machinery started unexpectedly was an added complication, but with the proper safety precautions in place, the injured party’s hands wouldn’t have been able to be pulled inside.”

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