Bezier Ltd, a retail marketing company, has been fined £118,500 Leeds Crown Court for “serious safety failings” over four years following an incident where 49-year-old William Aveyard from Shipley, was crushed to death while at work at their printing site in Wakefield. The company’s failure to comply with safety warnings resulted in the death of the worker from Wrose Road May 8, 2008 .
Mr Aveyard had become stuck in a hand-fed press and was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene. The press was being utilised for cutting out signs printed on corrugated card. It is likely that he climbed onto a moveable plate, used for pressing paper against type, to remove waste after a misfeed. He received fatal injuries when it activated, crushing him against the fixed press.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation discovered that a worker had died in a similar incident a year previously and that Bezier had failed to act on the health and safety knowledge acquired form this incident. Despite the fact that Mr Aveyard was indeed an experienced worker in the print industry, Bezier had not adequately trained him for using the machine correctly. Furthermore, no guidelines were provided for the workers who operated the machine for accessing the press and dealing with misfeeds.
Andy Denison , a HSE Inspector had this to say about the incident –
“The sudden – and avoidable – death of Mr Aveyard was a devastating blow for his family.
“Bezier did not act on the knowledge they had of a similar incident. The need for a safe system of work was identified at a Bezier meeting in May 2007. In February 2008, an external health and safety consultant prepared a risk assessment and an action plan but again, the company failed to act.
“Accessing the machine to retrieve misfeeds created a serious and foreseeable risk of death or serious injury. Bezier were fully aware of those risks before this incident and failed to implement the required controls.”