Thermaset Ltd, a paint company situated in Tamworth, has been ordered to pay fines of £12,000 by Stafford Magistrates’ Court following an accident where a 21-year-old worker suffered an avoidable arm injury. Mark Capewell’s arm was dragged into machinery while he was working at the company’s Lichfield Road Industrial Estate site. He sustained serious crush injuries in the accident that occurred on June 2011 and he required intensive physiotherapy. Following the incident he returned to work briefly, however he had to leave again as he still suffers from arm pain and headaches. Thermaset Ltd was fined for failing to implement adequate health and safety regulations.
Mr Capewell had been working for the company for 6 months before the incident occurred. On the day of the accident he was told to remove some product stuck to the machine rollers just before finishing his shift. He was given a handheld scarper to aid this work, however it did not work. He then decided to do it by hand and he reached into the machine – however, the product was hot and wet so it subsequently stuck to his glove and dragged his arm into the roller.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation that discovered that blockages frequently occurred on the extruder machines; however, workers were not provided with a safe system of removing these blockages, nor were they provided with the the basic risk assessment for the extruders. Mr Capewell had been shadowing an experienced staff member beforehand to learn learn the process, however no formal training was provided.
Matt Lea, a HSE inspector said that the company have improved their safety measures since the incident occurred. He then stated –
“It has guarded the machines appropriately, has a documented safe system of work and has ensured that all operatives are suitably trained.”
But he added: “If these safeguards had been in place before Mr Capewell suffered a painful injury, the accident could easily have been prevented.”