Polythene firm sentenced over employee’s life changing injuries

A manufacturing company has been fined a total of £50,000 for serious safety breaches after an employee was badly injured when he became trapped in heavy machinery.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) decided to investigate the firm after one of its workers suffered serious internal injuries after machinery trapped him for several minutes after he was checking it for debris.

The employee was working night shift at the time and was operating complex machinery.  There was a delay before the machinery was active when the worker walked through the machinery to check for malfunctions and debris which would cause faults to the products.   He noticed some debris and went to remove it and then he got trapped within the machine.

The Crown Court heard the man was trapped for over a minute before being freed by colleagues and during this time his upper torso received the most damage including his kidney, spleen and lungs. He spent three days in intensive care and lost function of one kidney.

The HSE found in their investigation that the company had previously identified a risk relating to other similar machinery involved in the process and had implemented the correct control measures but had failed to follow through with these measures on all the machinery.  . HSE told the court that had the company taken the same precautions and measures to ensure safety on this machinery then the employee’s life-changing injuries could have been prevented.

The manufacturing company pleaded guilty to breaches of Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 3 (1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.  The £50,000 fine consists of £20,000 for each breach and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £10,033.

An, HSE said: “If a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had been completed the necessary control measures could have been implemented to prevent the accident from occurring.”

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