Worker’s Injury Reveals Factory’s ‘Appalling’ Safety

July 29, 2014 By SGW Payroll | Health and Safety

A packaging firm has appeared in court after an investigation into a worker’s injury revealed safety standards described as ‘appalling’.

The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an employee had part of a finger amputated after his left hand became trapped in unguarded machinery.

The HSE discovered that two other workers had been injured in similar machinery incidents less than nine months earlier, numerous safety guards were missing or disabled on machines, and workers had not been given suitable training.

The Crown Court heard that the employee had been working on a machine used to produce bubble wrap when the incident happened at the plant.

The workers was trying to remove small pieces of plastic which had become stuck when his hand was pulled in between two rollers. It remained trapped for several minutes before another employee eventually found the emergency stop button.

He suffered burns and crush injuries to his hand, required skin grafts and had to have the top half of his middle finger amputated. The court was told two other workers had also suffered injuries when their hands became trapped in machinery.

The HSE first made the company aware of the need to guard dangerous machine parts during a visit to the site in September 2009. The warning was repeated when an external health and safety consultant highlighted ‘intolerable risks’ from missing guards on machines at the factory.

The consultant stressed the importance of implementing his findings when he returned to the site later in the year, after it became clear that no action had been taken.

The company was fined £50,010 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £23,102 after admitting breaches of the Management of Health and Safety at work Regulations 1999, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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