Hi, i've worked in asda for 25 years, the last 13 years i've worked on checkouts. Yesterday while working the skin on the back of my ring finger somehow managed to get caught in the conveyer belt. I stopped the belt immediately but was unable to move my hand, the pain was extremely bad and after about ten minutes or so my manager was able to reverse the belt and my hand was freed.
The skin that had been trapped was a grey/ white colour and very swollen but not broken. A first aider helped with an ice pack and checked to see if there was any broken bones which there is'nt. My manager and section leader had to write a report and my manager informed me that unfortunately it would be described as carelessness on my part. I'm a bit upset by that as I have being doing this job for so long without any issue. I pride myself on being a sensible worker and feel really down that they are saying that its my fault.
I love my job and wouldn't try to apportion blame on anyone for my minor injury. My finger is badly bruised and I have decreased sensation on the skin that was trapped.
I’m presuming you’ve had it checked out by GP/ minor injuries? The first aider is not able to say definitely there’s nothing broken or any nerve damage. The reduced sensation alone would warrant a GP visit at the very least.
Have a look at this: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg245.htm, which is the HSEs guide to hire to investigate incidents. There are plenty of other things they need to consider before they apportion blame to the employee.
You're right, I don't want it recorded as carelessness on my part. I don't think I was careless in the slightest. It took about 5 minutes or so for my manager to arrive, she then switched everything off from under the checkout and she then got some other people to manually reverse the belt, so all in all about ten minutes had passed from me trapping my finger to it being freed.
The only thing that made me think the belt might have been faulty is that someone mentioned that the belt was maybe a little loose. Tbh it shouldn't have happened and it shouldn't be able to happen, I was working as I always do and I really dont think it was through any fault of my own.
The first port of call would be to get it properly checked by a doctor. How could the first aider say for definite nothing was broken? I would then ask for a meeting with my manager and state the case that you aren’t happy with it being classed as carelessness and that you don’t accept this.
I agree that the first thing you need to do is get it checked and recorded with GP both from a personal injury point of view, 10 minutes is a long time to have restricted blood flow to any part of the body, but also if it turns out to be nerve damage, you may well decide to make a claim and then you have a paper trail from the beginning, do you have CCTV at work, would you be able to view what happened, if not to use as evidence, then from a learning aspect, it might well have been your fault and you may see how events occurred. I'd be very concerned if your timings are correct (when you're involved in an incident time seems to distort) 5 minutes is a very long time for a supervisor who presumably has to be present at the checkouts, to arrive, and then 5 minutes to turn a machine off and put it in reverse.