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Packaging company fined after worker loses fingers in machinery

Date:
7 December 2017

A Blackburn packaging company was today fined after a worker’s hand became trapped in machinery.

Preston Magistrates’ Court heard how the employee of Europlast (Blackburn) Ltd had been trying to clean a bubble wrap machine when his left hand became trapped between rollers, causing four of his fingers to be severed. The company failed to report the incident until nine months later, which significantly delayed investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and left other employees at risk.

The HSE investigation into the incident, which took place on 11 August 2015, found workers could reach into dangerous parts of the bubble wrap machine. The investigation also found arrangements for cleaning the machine were unsafe as operators carried this out whilst the machine was running. The court also heard that in 2012 HSE had prosecuted for serious hand injuries sustained on a similar machine at the premises.

Europlast (Blackburn) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc act 1974 and Regulation 4 (1) of the Reporting of Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. The company has been fined a total of £60,000 with costs of £6,055.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Steven Boyd said: “These were life-changing injuries that could have been prevented. Sadly, in this case lessons from previous incidents had not been learned.

“Duty holders should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We seek to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: legislation.gov.uk
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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