A corrugated cardboard manufacturer has been fined after an employee’s arm was dragged into unguarded machinery at a factory in Ellesmere Port.
Prowell Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at the company’s plant on North Road on 18 April 2012.
Chester Magistrates’ Court heard the 29-year-old male worker from Ellesmere Port, who does not want to be named, had been cleaning around a baling machine used to compress waste cardboard when his right hand became caught, causing crush injuries to his hand and breaking his arm.
The HSE investigation found the company had installed the second-hand baler at the factory early in 2009 but had relocated the control panel and hydraulic power pack to the outside of an enclosure around the machine to reduce the risk of fire. However, this created an unguarded gap on the machine itself.
Magistrates were told the firm failed to carry out a risk assessment on the use of the baler, despite employees being asked to clear out waste cardboard and dust inside the enclosure on a daily basis while the machine was still running. This meant that workers were regularly put at risk of being injured.
Prowell Ltd was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,053 after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1998 on 24 October 2013.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Lisa Bailey said:
“Prowell allowed the baler to operate for over three years without being properly guarded, which ultimately led to a worker being badly injured.
“It should have carefully considered the consequences of removing the control panel and power pack when the machine was first installed at the factory, and assessed the risks to workers.
“The company fitted a temporary mesh guard following the incident and has since installed a permanent fixed and interlocked guard. If these measures had been in place at the time of the incident then the employee’s injuries could have been avoided.”
The latest figures show 20 people were killed while working in the manufacturing industry in Great Britain in 2012/13. Information on improving safety is available at www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing.
Notes to Editors
The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken…which are effective to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar, or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”
Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work.”
HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.