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Engineering firm in court over worker’s injuries

Date:
22 May 2014

A Radcliffe company has been fined after a worker suffered serious injuries when he was dragged into dangerous parts of a moving machine.

Peter Wilson, 58, from Bury, was working at Cope Engineering (Radcliffe) Ltd’s plant when the cuff on his overalls was caught by the screws on a rotating three-metre-long cylinder on 9 July 2012.

The company, which produces rollers for the printing, packaging and paper industries, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the company had not prevented access to dangerous moving parts of the machine.

Sefton Magistrates’ Court in Bootle heard yesterday (21 May) that Mr Wilson was reaching over to adjust a component on the machine when his overalls became caught, pulling him in and twisting him around.

A quick-thinking colleague pushed the emergency stop button and cut Mr Wilson’s overalls to stop them from becoming more entangled before the rotating cylinder came to a halt.

Mr Wilson sustained injuries to his back and knee, and required 12 stitches to his arm. He was off work for seven weeks as a result of his injuries.

The court was told Cope Engineering made several changes to its working practices following the incident, including removing protruding screws from the cylinders, operating the machine at a slower speed when adjustments were being made, and changing the clothing worn by employees.

The company, of Sion Street in Radcliffe, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,767 costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Helen Mansfield said:

“An employee was badly injured in the incident but it could easily have been much worse if his colleague hadn’t acted quickly to stop the machine and cut his overalls free.

“Workers at the factory were put at a significant risk of their clothes becoming entangled on a daily basis so it was almost inevitable that someone would eventually be injured.

“Cope Engineering should have carried out a proper assessment of the risks faced by workers, and then acted to tackle the dangers. If the measures the company implemented following the incident had been in place sooner, then Peter’s injuries could have been avoided.”

Information on improving safety in the manufacturing sector is available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing.

Notes to Editors:

  1. 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
  2. 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.”
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk/

 

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