Manufacturer prosecuted after failing to provide guard for dangerous machine parts… A worker who at a manufacturing factory in Tilbrook in Milton Keynes had three fingers severed when his hand got stuck inside a bubble wrap making machine while cleaning it.
The worker, 29 from Leighton Buzzard was attempting to remove debris from the machine when his right hand was caught on an in-running nip and although he tried to remove it, two powered rollers had trapped his hand making it difficult to withdraw. The machine had not been powered down and the plastic inside the machine was being melted at more than 200 degrees centigrade.
The young man suffered serious injuries to his right hand including the loss of three fingers and severe burns. He has since returned to work at the company but has had to be retrained and placed in a different role.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the manufacturer responsible for breaching health and safety regulations on 18 May 2011 when the incident occurred.
Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court heard that the subsequent HSE investigation determined that there a lack of a machine guard to prevent access to the dangerous internal parts of the machine. The company was also issued with an Improvement Notice so that they might take measures to ensure such an incident does not reoccur in the future. This has now been complied with.
HSE’s inspector Karl Howes spoke after the hearing:
“Running nips are a common hazard in many industries and all machines should be guarded to prevent human contact with the dangerous parts. When machines are used with very hot plastics, these can be very dangerous.
“Employers using this sort of equipment need to make sure there is adequate guarding and if Sansetsu (U.K) Limited had taken the simple and inexpensive step of installing one, then this incident would never have happened.”
Sansetsu (U.K) Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The court imposed a fine £7,000 and ordered the company to pay costs of £2,742.