Monthly Archives: December 2012

Edinburgh Food Firm Fined after Worker Suffers Hand and Arm Injuries

Jian’s Dumplings Limited has been fined by Edinburgh Sheriff Court after an employee, Joseph Burnett, sustained hand injuries while at work on June 23rd 2010. Mr Burnett had been working at the Edinburgh food firm s to sort ingredients, make Chinese dumplings to order, and package products for nearly four months.

On this particular day he was working with an industrial-sized dough mixer which was used to make dough. Mr Burnett started to add flour to the mixer by hand as he was worried that the dough was too wet. His right hand was subsequently pulled into the drum of the machine. He only successfully pulled himself free after his arm had been pulled in past his elbow. He then alerted his colleagues about what had happened.

Mr Burnett sustained many injuries, including two fractures to his fingers and ripped tendons in his index and middle fingers. He underwent surgery and then needed 30 and 40 stitches. It was necessary for his arm to remain in a plaster cast for eight weeks. He then underwent physiotherapy in order to restore movement to his fingers. However is index finger movement remains limited.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive discovered that there had been no risk assessment performed on the operation by the firm. Other safety failings include the fact that there was no training, supervision, instructions for the machine provided or a work safety system in place with regards to using the dough mixer machine. Any instructions provided were in Chinese and even when closed the shutter on top of the machine left an 8 centimetre gap. It also didn’t have any way of shutting down the power provided to dangerous rotating parts whenever the shutter had been lifted.

Jian’s Dumplings Limited was fined £1,000 after they pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Inquest Rules that Lithuanian Factory Worker Died Accidentally

An inquest jury has ruled that 23-year-old Zydre Groblyte, a Lithuanian factory worker at RGE Engineering in Godmanchester who died on April 27th after being crushed and sustaining a severe head injury by a printing machine which started while she was inside it, died accidentally. Nevertheless the standards of the supervision and training that is provided to staff in the company has been questioned – particularly with regards to staff who have a poor grasp of English.

Ms Groblyte had been an employee at the factory for eight months. She was working at making panels for use in washing machines when the unfortunate incident occurred. The jury concluded that Miss Groblyte had inadvertently got through a safety gate, perhaps by stepping over it or going through a gap in it.

The jury came to a verdict of accidental death on the final day of Ms Groblyte’s inquest. The head juror stated –

“The jury believes on the balance of probability that the ongoing supervision of temporary workers, particularly those with poor or little English skills, was neither consistent nor adequate. Inconsistency and inadequacy in training and supervision of a colleague was therefore a contributing factor, more than minimally, negligibly and trivially to the death of Miss Groblyte.”

The juror went on to say –

“We believe more likely than not Miss Groblyte’s colleague accidentally activated the machine by either pushing the start button or pedal.”

The jury also came to the agreement that it should have been known by management at the factory that workers were accessing the machinery other than through the safety gates. They also believed a contributing factor to Miss Groblyte’s death was a failure to provide a safety guard that would deactivate the machine when someone was inside it.

the Health and Safety Executive is STILL conducting an investigation into the accident.

An RGE Engineering spokeswoman stated that the firm “respects the verdict by jury in this matter”.

She then stated –

“The circumstances surrounding Zydre’s death remain under investigation by the Health and Safety Executive so it would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time. Our sympathies remain with Zydre’s family and friends.”

Johnson Matthey Fined after Employee Severs Two Fingers

Johnson Matthey, a precious metals and chemicals company Orchard Road, Royston, has been ordered to pay fines of £20,000 after an employee, while using 10-tonne power hammer, severed two fingers March 30 of last year. The worker who wishes not to be named was using the machine to crush waste pieces of metal. Suddenly, his left hand was caught under it and his middle and index fingers were crushed.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the incident and discovered that not only was the hammer unguarded, it was also being used incorrectly. Furthermore the hammer was frequently used in this manner. Stephen Farthing, a HSE Inspector, stated –

“The injured employee was using this powerful machine inappropriately. It wasn’t guarded and was unsuitable for the work he was doing. It had become common practice within the company for the power hammer to be used in this way. Had better precautions been taken to make the machine safe and properly supervise activity, then the incident could have been prevented.”

The site planning and services director at Royston, John Gourd, stated –

“Johnson Matthey takes the health and safety of its employees and all of its stakeholders extremely seriously. This incident has been thoroughly investigated and action has been taken to prevent any reoccurrence.”

Johnson Matthey, who operate in more than 30 countries and employ almost 10,000 people, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £2,194 costs.

Manager Awarded £30,000 Compensation after Permanently Damaging her Foot

A 26-year-old woman has been left with a metal frame in her foot forever following an incident where she suffered severe ankle injuries after slipping on a loose wooden pallet  in February 2011 while she was at work.  At the time of the incident she was an operations manager at Bereco Ltd, a manufacturer of window frame and door frames based in Rotherham.

She was staying late, carrying out the role of her colleague who was out sick. This involved making sure that a delivery was dispatched on time. She made sure that pallets for delivery had been loaded on to a lorry, however, there remained some loose bundles of handles and frames.

Katrin tried to reach the final bags by climbing over a different pallet which had a sheet of plywood covering it, which served to conceal the edges of the frame.  When she had collected these items, Katrin then climbed down off the pallet, however she suddenly slipped and fell,. This resulted in her twisting an ankle and sustaining ligament tears in the other.

Katrin now has a five-and-a-half inch scar on her ankle and a metal frame inside her foot following extensive medical treatment. She has been awarded a £30,000 compensation settlement. The injury she suffered rendered unable to work for more than a year. She has undergone physiotherapy and numerous pain-filled operations; however she still has not healed completely.

About the incident Katrin has stated –

“I was off work for 14 months and spent a lot of that time in pain and discomfort. Being unable to get around and do things for myself was so frustrating, and really got me down.

“My ankle has improved a lot since the last surgery, but it still swells up and feels sore when I walk on uneven ground. It hurts every day, but it’s still a relief to be at this stage compared to where I was a year ago.”