A dad is battling to come to terms with life-changing injuries after he severed three fingers in an unguarded machine at work.
Shaun Newcomb (30) went through a stage where he didn’t want anyone to see his disfigured hand – and hid it in his pocket when he went out.
His daughter wouldn’t go near him after the accident in March last year and still won’t hold his hand.
Mr Newcomb, who lives in Bourne, spoke out after the company that supplied the machine was fined £6,667 and ordered to pay £5,715 costs for failing to protect people not in its employment.
Armistead Engineering, from Acomb, York, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act in a hearing at Grantham Magistrates’ Court last week.
Mr Newcomb was attempting to clear some blocked wood from a conveyor when his right hand came into contact with sprockets and chains that drove the belt and severed parts of his middle, ring and little fingers.
The Health and Safety Executive says the incident could have been easily prevented had the company not failed to ensure the machine was safe.
The dad had two operations, physiotherapy, cell generation treatment and counselling and was unable to work for nine months following the incident at a company at Sewstern, near Grantham.
Mr Newcomb now works for a different company as he was unable to return to the scene of the accident.
He said: “After it happened I felt agitated and kept losing my temper easily which was out of character for me.
“I went through a stage where I didn’t want anyone to see my hand.
“I would keep it in my pocket whenever I went out and, if I was in a shop, I would give my wife the money to pay as I didn’t want people talking about it.
“I used to fish regularly and play pool and darts.
“I still can’t play darts as I can’t hold them properly but I’ve managed to adapt to play pool.
“I’ve had to relearn how to do things like tie shoelaces and use a knife and I’m limited in what types of job I can do.
“I can’t work in the cold as it affects my fingers and I have a lack of dexterity in them which means I struggle to do some parts of my job.
“I also struggle with lifting tasks as I can’t grip properly and only have limited strength in what grip I do have.”
The injury has also had a big impact on family life.
Mr Newcomb said: “The incident affected my wife, who had to take time off work to look after me, and it also affected my children.
“My daughter wouldn’t come near me after it happened and won’t hold my hand now.
“My son is a bit older so understood more but was worried about hurting me and whether we could still play rough and tumble together.”
Health and Safety Executive inspector Berian Price said the incident “could have been so easily prevented” if the company had taken the right steps.
He said: “Armistead Engineering should have supplied adequate guarding with the machine and ensured workers did not have access to the dangerous moving parts of the conveyor.
“Sadly because they didn’t do this a man suffered painful, life-changing injuries.”