Young worker suffers debilitating injuries following employer’s blunder

A Kent-based engineering firm has been fined after a 20-year-old worker was left disabled when a metal sheet landed on his feet, severing three toes from one and breaking all the toes on the other.

Anton Hunter, an engineer with G&P Machine Shop Ltd in Queensborough, was helping a colleague unload a delivery of fabricated steel sheets at a nearby site when a 700kg piece of metal became dislodged from a magnet and fell directly on his feet.

His big toe and the next two on his right foot were sliced off and he suffered fractures to all the toes on his left foot. He has since had the second toe on the left foot amputated due to his big toe shifting following surgery.

Mr Hunter, from Sheerness, has since returned to work in a reduced capacity but is still regaining his walking skills.

The incident, on February 17th last year, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which earlier this month prosecuted G&P Machine Shop at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court.

The firm was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,036 after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Rob Hassell said: “Anton Hunter, a young engineer, had his life put on hold after suffering a debilitating injury that may impair his ability to walk for the foreseeable future.

“The incident could have been prevented if G&P Machine Shop had carried out suitable checks to ensure the lift was within the operating capacities of the magnet. Instead, it seems that in an attempt to improve deliveries, an entirely inappropriate piece of lifting equipment was chosen.”

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