Company heavily fined for ignoring health and safety advice

A packaging firm has been heavily fined after  being successfully prosecuted following a work place accident which was completely preventable. The accident happened when the worker was trying to remove small bits of plastic which had become lodged in the machinery when suddenly his hand was pulled in between two rollers where it remained for a number of minutes whilst staff located the stop button.  As a result of his crush injuries the member of staff had to have part of his finger amputated.

The HSE found the company had appalling safety conditions on site with many machines operating without safety guards and staff had little or no training on how to operate dangerous machinery or what to do when accidents happen.  

The worker suffered crush injuries which meant he had to have the top half of his middle finger amputated and also skin grafts following friction burns caused by the rollers which continued to operate whilst his hand was trapped for several minutes.

This incident is particularly concerning because it was found that there were two other incidents in the last nine months where workers were injured as a result of safety guards missing from dangerous moving machinery. The company had previously received warnings from a HSE safety consultant with regards to missing guards on machinery which had apparently been disregarded.

This was an entirely avoidable accident and the company was negligent in its responsibility to ensure safety at work. It was fined £50,010 and ordered to pay court costs of £23,102 for breaching Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

An HSE inspector said:

“The injured worker has only ever carried out manual work but his prospects of employment are now severely affected, as he can no longer use to his hand to hold, grab or lift anything properly.

“When we visited the factory following the incident, we found an appalling state of health and safety with no safe system of work in place for any of the machines.

“What’s even more shocking is that the company had failed to take any action to improve safety despite receiving numerous warnings and at least two other workers also suffering injuries.

“There appears to have been a complete absence of any attempt to organise or control health and safety at the factory, with the company apparently showing a total lack of care about the safety of its employees.”

Companies who consistently ignore HSE advice and put profit over the safety of their staff need to be made responsible for their negligence.  If you have been injured in your workplace then please call our specialist solicitors now on 0800 089 4444 to ensure these accidents don’t happen again. You may be entitled to work accident compensation for any pain or distress you have received as a result of your injury.