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Norfolk company in court after worker's finger injured in printing press

28 August 2013

A Norwich printing firm has been fined for safety failings after a worker injured his finger in an unguarded machine.

The 44-year-old employee, from Sprowston, was working for Swallowtail Print Ltd on the Drayton Industrial Estate when the incident happened on 1 November 2012.

Norwich Magistrates’ Court was told today (28 August) that the worker opened a service compartment at the side of a printing press to make some adjustments. As he leant in, he slipped and put his hand out, which became entangled in the machine’s moving drive belts and pulleys, almost severing his right index finger.

The man, who does not wish to be named, was treated in hospital and was off work for three months.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that that a fixed metal guard had been removed from the compartment five weeks earlier by other employees who were also making machine adjustments and had not been replaced.

Swallowtail Print Ltd, of Drayton Industrial Estate, Norwich, was fined £6,700 and ordered to pay £3,030.10 costs and a £120 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the case, HSE Inspector Paul Unwin, said:

"This incident was entirely foreseeable and therefore preventable. The risks to employees from exposed machinery are well known.

"Had Swallowtail Print Ltd met its duties, it would not have been possible for the employee to have accessed moving parts of machinery in this way and an injury would not have occurred."

For more information on machinery safety in the printing industry visit

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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.
  2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees."

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