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Textile company fined after worker suffers crushed hand

22 August 2017

A Devonshire based textile company, Heathcoat Fabrics Limited has been fined after 21-year old employee Anthony Seward suffered life changing hand injuries.

Exeter Magistrates’ Court heard on 23 August 2014 that Mr Seward was preparing a piece of machinery for the next shift, when his hand was drawn into the rotating rollers. He suffered severe crush injuries to his left hand resulting in partial amputation of four fingers.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed safeguard this dangerous machinery. They had previously provided a guard, but when it broke down they failed to repair it and instead replaced the guard with an emergency stop wire.

It remained in that condition for over two years, with the proper guard only being replaced the day after this incident.

Heathcoat Fabrics Limited of Westexe, Tiverton, Devon pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The company has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2862.30.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Paul Mannell said: “Mr Seward has suffered life changing injuries due to the company’s failures.  An individual’s health and safety should not be made worse by the work they do.

“Duty holders have the responsibility to ensure all dangerous machinery has the appropriate level of safety guarding for employees to be able to operate it.”


Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It helps Great Britain work well by applying a broad range of regulatory interventions and scientific expertise, to prevent 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. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:
  3. HSE news releases are available at



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