Accident victim was unsupervised when power press machine smashed his hands…
A packaging company has been hit with a substantial fine amounting to £200,000 after an employee had both his hands severely damaged when they were trapped in heavy machine parts at the firm’s factory in Whitehaven.
The 25-year-old accident victim lost four of his fingers and had two others partly severed in the horrific accident which occurred on 14 September 2010.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) decided to prosecute the company after their investigation revealed that the employee had not recieved the expected level of training to carry out his work tasks in a safe manner nor had he been supervised at the time of the accident.
Carlisle Crown Court heard that the accident victim had been working with a high-powered machine known as the power press, which is capable of exerting forces reaching up to 35 tonnes and is used to stamp lids onto cardboard tubes. He was in the process of testing the size of lids produced by the machine when it pressed down onto his hands inflicting significant damage.
The court was also told that the previous supervisor of the accident victim had left four months before the accident and the new man hired to replace him had not received the necessary training to carry out his duties in an effective manner. The company was also criticised in court for not completing a risk assessment of the dangers associated with the machinery at the factory.
The company pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay an additional £19,308 in prosecution costs.
HSE Inspector Andrew Jewitt spoke after the hearing:
“The employee was off work for ten months due to the extent of his injuries, but they will continue to affect him for the rest of his life. He now struggles with everyday activities, like writing and cutting up food, which most of us take for granted.
“The risk of serious injury from power presses is well known in the manufacturing industry and the worker’s injuries could have been avoided if the company had made sure he and his supervisors had been properly trained.
“Incidents like this will continue to happen if employers don’t take the risks seriously.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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