Category Archives: Accidents in Factories

Paint Company Fined £12,000 After Worker is Injured

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.”

Employee of Smurfit Kappa UK Severs Fingers in Accident

Packaging company Smurfit Kappa UK has recently pleaded guilty to health and safety regulation violations after an employee had his fingers severed while working at its factory in Whitehaven. In September 2010, the accident occurred when the 25-year-old employee from Egremont was working with a 35-tonne power press for the purpose of stamping out metal lids for cardboard whisky bottle packaging. While he was testing out a part that had just been replaced in the machine, the employee lost two fingers on each hand and two more fingers on his right hand were severed at the knuckle.

Later, a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation discovered that the employee’s supervisor had left the company four months before the accident occurred and had been replaced subsequently by staff that had not been sufficiently trained. Furthermore, it was also discovered that the injured staff member had not been correctly trained and that no suitable risk assessment existed for the operation.  Smurfit Kappa UK, on 21 March at Carlisle Crown Court, pleaded guilty to breaching a Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 regulation and was fined £200,000 in addition to £19,308 prosecution in costs.

Following the hearing, Andrew Jewitt, a HSE Inspector said –

“The employee was off work for ten months due to the extent of his injuries, but they will continue to affect him for the rest of his life. He now struggles with everyday activities, like writing and cutting up food, which most of us take for granted. The risk of serious injury from power presses is well known in the manufacturing industry and the worker’s injuries could have been avoided if Smurfit Kappa had made sure he and his supervisors had been properly trained. He added: “Incidents like this will continue to happen if employers don’t take the risks seriously.”

 

West Bromwich Glass Works Fined £7000 for Worker’s Lost Finger

Bloomsbury Glass Ltd’s factory in Kelvin Way has been ordered to pay £7,000 by Sandwell Magistrates Court after a worker’s finger was crushed in machinery and was subsequently amputated. 32 year old Glass worker, Asif Hussain, was providing assistance to his colleague with freeing a large piece of glass when the accident occurred. Mr Hussain’s ring finger was so seriously damaged that amputation was necessary. He has been rendered unable to work and his right hand is still painful and swollen.

The accident happened when Mr Hussain, of Sparkbrook, entered the confines of the machine through a space in the surrounding fencing. While he was discussing the best way of removing the  glass with his co-worker, his glove became was caught in the rotating drive shaft and his right hand was pulled in as a result. An investigation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the machine was improperly guarded after Bloomsbury Glass was moved to the Kelvin Way site. One of the firm’s maintenance engineers did indeed modify and install guard panels, however they left a gap.

Bloomsbury Glass Ltd was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £4,928 costs after they pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Dave Rama, manager of Bloomsbury Glass Ltd said –

“The worker should not have been there in the first place. The machine is now guarded, and I am confident it will not happen again.”

Factory Worker in Sheffield Receives £6,500 after Breaking Foot at Work

A factory worker in Sheffield has received a sum of £6,500 in compensation after his foot was broken when he was provided with incorrect equipment for moving alloy bars. Michael Kirby, a machine operator from Southey, sustained two fractured metatarsals in his left foot and was rendered unable to work for seven weeks following his accident at Ross and Catherall in Killamarsh.

47-year-old Kirby had been trained to transport 5ft long alloy bars from the floor to a machine, by method of picking them up with a scissor clamp and swinging them in. However, one of the bars fell from the scissor clamp and landed on his foot during a shift. Despite the fact that he was wearing steel -capped boots that contained a built-in metatarsal guard, the impact of the bar broke his foot.

After the accident occurred, staff at the alloy manufacturing factory were instructed to move the bars closer to the floor before raising them to the level of the machine instead of swinging them around. Following this, an alternative type of clamp with curved interlocking forks was brought in to move the alloy bars. Ross and Catherall accepted liability for the accident and a claim was settled out of court after contact was made by solicitors instructed by the GMB union.

About the accident Mr Kirby said –

“After the accident I was virtually housebound for several weeks. I found it difficult to get around on crutches and could only get upstairs by using a stairlift we fortunately already had. I was frustrated at being injured when I was only doing my job in the way I had been told to.It was obviously a dangerous system because after my accident steps were taken to prevent swinging the bars and we were provided with a different type of clamp to move the bars.”

The GMB union’s Andy Worth said –

“Our member was injured because he had been trained to move these alloy bars in an unsafe way. There was no risk assessment of the job which would have highlighted the danger of swinging the bars and the need for a more appropriate clamp to be used to prevent workers being injured.”

Thompsons Solicitors’, Teresa Marriott said –

“This employer failed to take into consideration the health and safety ramifications of the job. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide suitable work equipment and to ensure safe systems of work are used. In this case a quick assessment would have highlighted the potential dangers of the method and equipment used and would have been cheaper than paying compensation to an injured worker.”

 

Factory Worker Dies in Industrial Accident

There is an investigation being carried out into an industrial accident where a man was killed in Dinnington on Friday. At around 3.12pm on Friday afternoon emergency services were contacted and summoned to the premises of Macalloy Ltd which is located on Caxton Way. A 47-year-old man, from the Rawmarsh area Rotherham who has yet to be identified by police, is believed to have been fatally injured when he was suddenly trapped in machinery.

On Tuesday a post mortem examination was carried out at Sheffield’s Medico Legal Centre. It showed that the man had suffered an immediate death due to multiple internal injuries. The coroner will open an inquest into his death within the next few days. A spokesman for the South Yorkshire Police has stated: “Meanwhile, police are continuing to conduct interviews with members of staff at the premises and are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive.”

Last Friday the South Yorkshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) began conducting a joint investigation into the incident. The premises remained closed throughout the weekend while they continued their investigations.  A HSE spokesman confirmed it was aiding the ‘police led’ investigation into the fatal accident, but said that they could not reveal any more information until the investigation had been completed.

Macaolloy Ltd has yet to comment on the incident. The company was established in 1948 and it supplies threaded bar and cable systems that are utilised on wind turbines and high rise buildings all over the world. In November 2006 it relocated to Dinnington to a new headquarters office and factory complex.

Aviation Worker Dies in Factory Accident

A 47-year-old aviation worker from Cambridge died following a crushing incident Saturday afternoon in a factory run by CAV Ltd near Newmarket Road in Cambridge. According to reports, the employee was trapped under “a piece of heavy metal”. The ambulance service has stated that the injuries he suffered were internal and traumatic. His body has not yet been identified.

CAV Ltd is an aerospace manufacturing firm, the factory in question stores components for aircraft wings. The Marshall company, who leases the factory to CAV, was alerted to the accident and offered assistance at the scene to police and paramedics.

Terry Holloway, a spokesman for Marshall said –

“Our security staff assisted the emergency services with handling the accident and we also provided medical assistance from within Marshalls.”

An East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust Spokeswoman has said paramedics were contacted at 1.23pm about a man who had been crushed by heavy metal material and could not be accessed easily. Sent to assist at the scene were a clinical manager, a double-staffed ambulance and an air Fire and Rescue.

A helicopter crew from the emergency medical charity Magpas were also sent to the location of the accident to aid the crushed man; however he later died at the scene. Police were at the site over the weekend and an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive was also carried out. The Civil Aviation Authority has been informed about the death.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police stated – “We are working with the Health and Safety Executive to look at the circumstances around the incident to see if any offences have been committed.”

Owen McFarlane, CAV Ltd group chief executive, said that the man who died was an agency worker from another company. He was working at the time that the accident occurred. He went on to say that the company are co-operating fully with the investigations and that condolences go out to the deceased aviation worker’s family.

Mainetti UK fined £81,600 for Factory Worker’s Conveyor Belt Injuries

Mainetti UK has been fined £81,600 after a worker suffered serious injury when her hair and scarf was caught in machinery. The factory worker – Kelly Nield, 24, from Ellesmere Port – could have been killed in the “horrific accident” it was asserted in Mold Crown Court. She sustained injury to her neck and throat as well as hair loss and a fractured finger – still suffers from disabling injuries. The coat hanger maker company admitted to four breaches in health and safety protocol at its plant at Deeside, Flintshire.

The court was told that the horrific accident occurred on agency worker Miss Nield’s first day of sorting hangers while working on a conveyor belt in April 2009. According to prosecutor, Simon Parrington, she leaned forward to clear a blockage on the line when her scarf became entangled in a cog mechanism that was not adequately guarded. Her hair then became entangled and as she tried to free herself, so too did her left hand get caught. Her neck, throat and hair were seriously injured.

Mr Parrington then went on to describe how Miss Nield attempted to free herself and then shouted for help. Eventually, another worker rushed to her aid and pushed the main “off” button for the conveyor belt which was located a distance away. Miss Nield spent three months in hospital and has undergone numerous operations and she has still been left with disabilities nonetheless.

Mr Parrington went on to say that because there was no emergency stop button located on the line, Miss Nield was not able to save herself, and she could easily have died. Barrister of the defendant, Simon Antrobus, said that Mainetti’s managing director and senior officials wanted to publicly apologise to Miss Neild for injuries that she had suffered. The company, which has a base in Scotland and has been in business for 38 years, had immediately admitted full liability and did not wish to “pass the buck”.

The company’s safety procedure that was in place had not been followed; the company should have discovered this sooner. The barrister then said that the firm had relocated to a new factory at Greenfield from its Deeside plant, and has implemented a “root and branch” safety review.

Judge Niclas Parry referred to the incident as “an accident waiting to happen”. It was “a horrendous accident”, said the judge. “The worker had suffered dreadful injuries, and it was clear that no guidance or instruction had been provided to her

Mainetti UK was fined £60,000 with £21,600 costs.

Following the hearing, HSE Inspector David Wynne spoke about the matter –

“These horrific, life-changing injuries sustained by Ms Nield could easily have been avoided if the right safeguarding measures had been taken by Mainetti (UK) Ltd. There are well-known risks associated with working with conveyor belts. It is vital, therefore, that the risks are fully assessed and guarding provided to prevent access to moving parts. Where appropriate, emergency stop controls should be installed in readily accessible places.”

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.”

Alcohol Factory Management Apologises for Fire that Injured Worker

Managing director of a Black Country alcohol factory has apologised for an accident which involved the factory bursting into flames, damaging homes and cars and subsequently forcing residents to flee for their lives.

This is the first time Alcohol Ltd’s Adam Wallis has spoken since the fire spread from the Crosswells Road factory on Monday and caused much destruction to people’s private properties in the surrounding area. One of the factory’s fifteen workers is being treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital after suffering burns from being caught in the blaze.

Sixteen homes were destroyed by the fire; those affected have are living at a nearby hotel while their houses are being worked on. Mr Wallis spoke with nearby residents about the events of the fire.

On the matter he said –

“We are extremely sorry for the accident. But we have to work with the council, HSE and fire service to help them with the investigation, before we can comment further.”

He added: “We are working with the council on the clean-up. We want those who have been displaced to get back to their homes, in the safe and warm.”

Mr Wallis stated that the fire had begun in the factory’s living area, but could not say what happened after that –

“During the fire, we were at the site giving the fire service the professional guidance about the chemicals on site, to help them put out the fire.”

Mr Wallis has stressed that the fire alarms were activated when the fire began and that all the relevant health and safety measures were in place –

“We are taking the lead from the health and safety executive at the moment.”

 

Two Companies Fined More than £70,000 after Worker Dies

Two companies have been ordered to pay fines of more than £70,000 by Leicester Crown Court after a worker was killed by driving his scissor lift into an unprotected pit in a floor of a food processing plant in Ratby Lane in Leicester in 2008. 52 year old Martin McMenem from Grimsby was employed by O Turner Insulation Ltd when the accident happened , he was installing wall and ceiling panels at the time. The vehicle fell over when he drove it into the uncovered recess, later in hospital Mr McMenem died of severe head injuries.

An investigation made by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that O Turner Insulation Ltd and principal contractor Clegg Food Projects Ltd had not implemented simple safety measures for its workers. The use of a metal plate or a cordon would likely have prevented the iaccident from occurring. O Turner Insulation Ltd was was ordered to be pay fines of £22,500 with £12,806 in costs, while Clegg Food Projects was ordered to pay fines of £22,500 and £12,674 in costs.

Stephen Farthing, a HSE inspector, stated –

“This was an entirely preventable tragedy. A family has been left without a father because simple precautions were not taken to eliminate what was an obvious hazard. Both companies had a duty to plan, manage and monitor the work being carried out under their control, but failed in that duty.”

Mr McMenemy’s eldest son, 33 year old Ashley, worked alongside his father as a thermal insulation engineer for several years, but after the incident he could not continue in that career any longer. On the matter he he said –

“I lost interest in working as a thermal insulation engineer following the incident. The work wasn’t the same and I simply didn’t enjoy it any more. I miss Dad and I am upset that if I ever have any children he will not get to see them. I often think of him, and all the things we haven’t yet done. I miss getting to know him better.”

Retail Marketing Company Fined after Worker Death

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.”

Several Injured at Explosion in Fox’s Biscuits Factory

Several people sustained injury and one man was severely burned after an explosion occurred at the Fox’s Biscuits factory located on Wellington Street in Batley. At 10.45am the emergency services were called when a spark ignited fuel in an old heating oil tank at the back of the building. The man who suffered burns on his legs is a contractor that was apparently dismantling this tank at the time. Treatment was administered at the site and he was subsequently brought to hospital; his injuries are not thought to be severe. Another five workers were also provided with medical treatment at the scene.

The incident occurred Wednesday the 22nd and resulted in the evacuation of the factory as fire-fighters tried to prevent the fire spreading from to a boiler house adjacent to the factory. The fire was extinguished in just a few minutes; however they remained at the factory for several hours afterwards to cool the tank.

A Fox’s Biscuits spokesman said that no damage had been done to the building as a result of the explosion and that the firm’s 450 employees had been able to return to work at the factory at 3pm. He went on to say –

“At approximately 10.45am there was a small blast in the area around the three diesel tanks at the back of the building.

“Contractors were draining and cleaning the diesel tanks and there was a source of ignition that caused the incident and one member of the contractor team sustained burns to his legs.

“He is in hospital receiving treatment and is sitting up and talking. We await a further update as to his condition.

“The response to the incident from colleagues on site was excellent, the evacuation was done quickly and orderly and we remained fully in control at all times.

“The incident management and evacuation has been commended by the chief fire officer on the scene.”

The spokesman also stated that the Health and Safety Executive were conducting an investigation and that the company had also launched their own investigation in conjunction with the contractors and site teams.

Thorntons Fined £20,000 after Worker Breaks Finger

Thorntons, a UK chocolate manufacturer, has been ordered to pay fines of £20,000 by Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court after an accident with a wrapping machine where a 37 year old worker broke her finger while operating it on November 17, 2009. The worker in question, Ellen Yardley from Derbyshire, was in the company’s head office in Somercotes working on a wrapping machine, which is used for wrapping chocolates in foil before dispensing them down a chute into a tray.

During a break, Ms Yardley tried to clean the inside of the output chute where caramel had spread and created a mess, however the machine was still running. The cloth she was using got caught in the rotating parts and the machine pulled in her right hand. Subsequently her middle finger sustained a cut and a fracture, and she was unable to work for 10 weeks.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation and discovered that the machine did in actual fact have guarding installed, but it was not adequate. A further audit of the factory’s other machines discovered that many of them needed safety improvements, for example – preventing access to dangerous parts or the reparations of existing safeguards.

Stuart Parry, a HSE inspector, had this to day following the hearing –

“Thorntons should never have allowed the machinery guarding to fall below the legal safety standards.

“It was effectively asking its employees to work on machines that put them at risk of injury.

“It was entirely foreseeable that the inadequate guarding could lead to injury and even if Ms Yardley had not used a cloth, her hand could still have been drawn into the machine while cleaning it. If the company had carried out an adequate risk assessment of its machinery, its workers would not have been put at risk and in Ms Yardley’s case painfully injured.”

A Thorntons spokesman stated –

“The company accepts the court’s decision regarding the fine imposed in relation to the two technical breaches.”

Rotherham Firm Prosecuted by HSE for Safety Failings

Yorkshire Spin Galvanising, a Rotherham firm, has been prosecuted by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failures in safety following a maintenance engineer being crushed by a 1.5 tonne weight that landed on his back on 27 September 2010. The worker sustained multiple injuries, such as a broken shoulder, two cracked ribs and the tops of three vertebrae being snapped off.  The HSE conducted an investigation following the incident occurring.

The accident had happened when the worker was investigating a fault and climbed onto a gantry which was in the machine. After it had cleared, he made his way to the back of the gantry – where the operator could not see him – in order to look at another repair that he had carried out recently. He leaned over a guardrail in order to get a better view, however, the machine was still running and the counterweight descended – which subsequently pinned him against the junction box. Before he lost consciousness, he was able to shout ‘stop’ to alert his co-workers and a co-worker at the control panel was able to free him from the weight.

The company, which is registered at East Parade, Leeds, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs by Rotherham Magistrates’ Court after it admitted guilt to the violation of Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at their Rotherham plant.

HSE Inspector, Denise Fotheringham, said that the accident could easily have been fatal and that the company had poor safety standards, especially when it came to the safety of maintenance workers. He then went on to say –

“There were no systems to isolate the machinery and engineers relied on emergency stops and interlocks. That’s woefully inadequate as there is a risk the machine could be re-started with the engineer inside.

“Machines should always be fully isolated from the power supply and if an engineer has to go in, it needs to be locked off with a padlock that only the engineer can undo once the work is complete.”

27 people were killed in the manufacturing sector during 2010/11 and just over 3,800 major injuries were reported according to the latest statistics from HSE.