Latrave Ltd, an adhesive tape manufacturer in Northamptonshire, has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an incident where a 19-year-old agency worker had his thumb severed by machinery at their Wellingborough factory on 25 August 2010. The worker had only been working there for three weeks when the incident occurred. He was in the middle of being trained in how to fix a printing press problem when two rollers in the machine pulled his left hand and it became stuck.
The worker was subsequently airlifted to Royal Derby Hospital’s specialist hand injury unit where it was necessary to amputate part of his thumb. He spent five days in hospital and was unable to work for nearly seven works. Physiotherapy is still a necessity for him and the injury he has sustained has prevented him from partaking in many of his his pastimes, including boxing and repairing bikes and cycling.
Investigation into the incident conducted by the (HSE) discovered that the machine was missing its guard and the way that the worker was being trained was not safe. Latrave Ltd was found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by Wellingborough magistrates. The company was ordered to pay fines of £8,000 in addition to full costs of £14,736.
Mark Austin, a HSE inspector, said that the agency worker suffered serious, lifelong injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life all because of the health and safety negligence demonstrated by Latrave Ltd . He then stated –
“The machine had guards missing, he was shown dangerous practices like keeping it running while fixing it, and was not properly supervised for someone who had only worked for the company for less than three weeks. Companies need to make sure all guards are in place on their machines no matter who is using them, but inexperienced workers need greater training and supervision because of their lack of experience. HSE will inevitably take action against firms who fail in these ways.”