Safety failings cause three accidents in just over a year at Lincoln company…
A paper company in Lincolnshire has been ordered to pay £116,000 in fines and costs after three employees sustained serious hand injuries while working with unguarded machines at the company’s plant.
One man had his left thumb amputated after it was crushed in unguarded machinery on 26 July 2011, a month later a woman suffered a serious cut to her finger using a machine to fold napkins while a year after that another employee lost four fingers on his right hand when it got caught between unguarded rollers.
The HSE investigations into the three incidents found a series of safety failings that contributed directly to the likelihood of those type of accidents occurring. Lincoln Crown Court heard that with regard to the first incident the company had allowed engineers to access a production line by over-riding the guarding mechanism. Investigators looking into the second incident discovered that a guard had been removed from the machine despite the fact a similar accident had occurred using it a few years earlier. The investigation into the third incident showed that dangerous working practices were allowed to continue at the plant without management intervention as it became commonplace to lock machine operators within an enclosure.
The paper company pleaded guilty to three charges relating to breaches of both Sections 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Section 3(1) of the same Act. The court imposed a fine of £85,000 on the company in addition to prosecution costs of £31,380.
HSE inspector David Lefever spoke after the hearing:
“The company had a poor health and safety management system and failed to suitably supervise factory operations.
“The company was well aware that machines should have interlocked guards in place to prevent people accessing dangerous moving parts of the machinery, yet it continued to put workers at risk over a prolonged period. Injury was inevitable.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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