A METAL worker lost his finger when it became trapped in machinery at a Burnley tool manufacturer, magistrates heard.

Victim Paul Whittaker was working on a metal component when the horrific injury happened at CMA Tools, in Westgate, the Reedley court was told.

He was reducing the size of the component on a lathe with an emery cloth, which became entangled in part of the mechanism.

This pulled in Mr Whittaker’s right hand, which became further trapped as he was wearing a glove.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) officials have warned firms that similar incidents could occur unless they formulate safe methods of working and provide adequate training.

Representatives from CMA, of Belle Vue Mill, admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure the safety of its employees.

Magistrates fined the company £1,000, and ordered it to also pay £1,000 in court costs, following the incident on April 1, 2009.

The court heard Mr Whittaker had not received training on how to operate the machine safely, or on the dangers of using emery cloths on metalworking lathes.

Health and Safety Executive Inspector Imran Siddiqui said: “Mr Whittaker has been unable to return to work and his injury has significantly affected his ability to grip and lift with his right hand.

“Sadly injuries like the one he suffered are all too common.

“A significant proportion of incidents at lathes are caused by emery cloths being used in an unsafe way.

“If Mr Whittaker had been warned against using a piece of emery cloth while he worked on the lathe, he would not have lost his finger.”

A Health and Safety Executive investigation discovered that the company had failed to adequately assess the risks of using emery cloths on rotating mechanisms, and had not implemented a safe system of work to control the risks.

Mr Siddqui also warned against wearing gloves when working with lathes.