Devon dad has every finger amputated after hands crushed in machine

Dean Delahaye, from Barnstaple, had to have all eight fingers amputated after his hands were crushed by a metal rolling machine.

The 35-year-old worked for flue and chimney manufacturer SF Limited. He was feeding flat metal sheeting into the machine when the incident took place in September 2019. He spent 54 days in hospital and had numerous operations. More than three years on, he is still waiting for prosthetics to be fitted.

Mr Delahaye said, “I still get very frustrated and have a sense of uselessness, I am frustrated with how long things are taking, and how things have been put on hold. Having no fingers means I am unable to grip things. Before my accident I enjoyed playing a wide range of sports, including football, tennis and squash. I have always enjoyed working with my hands and have only ever had manual jobs, but since the accident it will never be possible to return to doing this again. Before my accident I was an independent and sociable person, but I feel this has been taken away from me now.”

Due to the severity of his injuries, Mr Delahaye went on to say how he was even unable to pick up and feed his daughter, who was born after the incident, “It makes me feel like a burden to my loved ones, with all the assistance I need daily, my wife Jess not only has to care for me, but is also like a single parent which makes me feel so worthless. Mentally I have not come to terms with my new reality. When I dream, I am fully able-bodied and then I wake and realise this is never going to be the case for me again. But if my accident can stop someone going through what I have had to go through, then at least it will be for something.”

An investigation by the HSE found the company had failed to adequately assess the risks and implement the necessary controls when the roller equipment was installed. They subsequently missed a further opportunity to reassess the risks following a significant change in the way in which the machine was operated.

S F Limited which trades as SFL Flue and Chimney of Pottington Business Park, Barnstaple, Devon, pleaded guilty to breaching  Section 2(1) of The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £26,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,000.

After the hearing HSE inspector Paul Mannell said, “Dean’s injuries were easily preventable.  Employers must identify the risks posed by dangerous parts of machinery and ensure that relevant controls are implemented to minimise the potential for harm. Where the way in which machinery is used changes, the assessment and controls should be updated to ensure employees can work safely and without risk of injury.”

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