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Worker suffers severe finger injury while using core-drill

worker significant finger injury while using core-drill
Re-enactment of worker core-drilling the concrete pipe

MinEx has reported an incident regarding a production worker had significant finger injury while using core-drill in Humes – Hornby manufacturing (Christchurch).

According to the report, a production worker was core-drilling 50mm deep holes into concrete pipes, and while the worker was holding onto the 450mm-long rotating drill-bit, it has grabbed his left glove, twisted the glove off, and his 5th digit (little finger) was separated from his left hand at the second knuckle, with it unable to be re-attached during subsequent surgery.

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The worker was following the instructions as laid out in the SOP (created and last reviewed in March 2013), was following current industry-accepted practices, and was experienced in the task being undertaken, incl. being a site trainer for the task.

The risk of entanglement with the rotating part had not been identified as a risk by the site, although they were in the process of investigating a new drill to further manage the potential risk of the drill jamming and injuring a worker’s shoulder and/or wrist.

MinEx recommonds people need to question the following:

  • Are we choosing the correct-sized tool for the task?
    • While a non-standard item, a shorter-length drill-bit was able to be ordered from the supplier.
  • How do we eliminate the need for people to touch, or come into contact with rotating parts?
    • Identify all tasks that may do so, then find solutions to prevent contact e.g. frames, stands
  • Do accepted industry practices manage the risk in the safest possible way?
    • Holding smaller drill-bits (incl. wearing gloves) is common within the core-drilling industry, however,
  • this should not be acceptable given the entanglement risk. Check all contractors are not using their hands to stabilise the drill-bit.
  • Are training processes and systems being reviewed, and is currently training in place for staff?
    • The SOP was last reviewed in March 2013 and did not identify the risk of entanglement.

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AMSJ April 2022