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Print firm in court after worker loses finger

Date:
22 May 2014

A Gosport printing company has been fined after a worker lost a finger and seriously injured another during unsafe maintenance work on a book binding machine.

Leharna Bull, 28, from Gosport, had to have the middle finger of her right hand amputated as a result of the incident at Ashford Colour Press Limited on 19 August 2013.

Her employer was prosecuted today (22 May) after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified clear failings with the guarding on the machine she was operating.

Fareham Magistrates’ Court heard that Ms Bull was attempting to clean the milling blades on the large binding machine and had removed a fixed guard to access the parts.

At the same time a fellow worker changed a milling bag where paper dust is collected.

The machine was restarted when Ms Bull was still working with the fixed guards open. She was unable to react in time and the moving blades caught her fingers.

HSE established that had the work been better planned and assessed the incident could have been avoided.

The court was told the machine should not have been allowed to operate when Ms Bull had access to the dangerous moving parts.

Ashford Colour Press Limited, of Fareham Reach, Fareham Road, Gosport, was fined a total of £13,000 and ordered to pay £1,278 in costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Provision and Use or Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

After the case, HSE Inspector Alec Ryan said:

“This was an easily preventable incident that has left a young worker with an irreversible hand injury. The system of work was inherently unsafe because it should not have been possible to operate the machine with dangerous moving parts exposed.

“It is vital that all maintenance work, however routine, is properly planned and assessed, and that suitable protection measures are implemented. That is especially true when you are dealing with powerful equipment like the binding machine that injured Leharna.”

For information on safe working with machinery, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/puwer.htm

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… 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. Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states: “Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of  (a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and (b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking.”

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