A Pontypridd printing company has been prosecuted after an employee’s hand was caught in machinery.
Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court heard today (13 Feb) that Eiron Atkins (51), from Pontypridd, was starting a rotary textile printer at Treforest Textiles, an item of equipment that he had operated for over 20 years, when the incident happened.
On 16 May 2013, Mr Atkins tried to start the printer three times but it failed to start. Thinking that either excess water had got into the machine or affected the electrics, he took off one of the removable metal panels on the side of the printer in an effort to let air circulate and dry the machine.
As Mr Atkins crouched down to take a better look, he slipped and his hand was dragged into the belt of the printer. He lost parts of three fingers on his right hand and was off work for ten weeks. Since the accident he has suffered extreme sensitivity to cold in the injured hand, along with other difficulties caused by loss of motor function in the affected hand.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Treforest Textiles Ltd failed to ensure that the work was carried out safely and did not have any system in place to protect its employees against the moving belts once the side panels had been removed. The panels also had no locks to prevent anyone from removing them.
Treforest Textiles Ltd, of Treforest Industrial Estate, Pontypridd, was fined £5000 and ordered to pay costs of £1184 after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Simon Breen said “This incident could have been entirely prevented had Treforest Textiles adequately guarded the machinery. As a result, Mr Atkins suffered permanent significant injuries to his right hand.”
“Companies must assess the safety of their machinery and ensure that moving parts do not endanger their workers by putting adequate guarding in place.”
Information on work equipment and machinery can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/
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 in accordance with paragraph (2) which are effective (a) to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or (b) to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”
- For further HSE news releases visit www.hse.gov.uk/press