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Packaging company fined after worker left with life-changing injury

9 February 2018

A packaging firm was sentenced today for safety breaches after a worker suffered life-changing injuries.

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 3 October 2016, the worker was employed as a driver by W.K.West Limited. On the day of the incident, having finished his driving duties for the day he was asked to work in the factory.

The supervisor had set up a circular saw and demonstrated the task of pushing stacked cardboard sheets through the saw to pre-determined sizes. During the demonstration, no push stick or jig was used to push the cardboard through the blade. After the demonstration the worker was left unsupervised.

As he pushed the cardboard through the blade by hand, the cardboard twisted and pulled his right hand into the blade. The worker’s injuries were so severe that part of his index finger and ring finger had to be amputated from his right dominant hand, with his middle finger being damaged.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found W.K.West Limited did not provide suitable and sufficient training, supervision and assessment of the risks that were necessary for the safe use of the circular saw.

W.K.West Limited, trading as Westpack, of Cornish Street, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £120,000 with £849.54 costs

After the hearing, HSE inspector Anuja Mistry-Raval commented:
“Circular saws have a well-known accident history of severe hand injuries. This incident could so easily have been avoided if suitable control measures had been implemented and safe working practices had been followed.

“Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk of personal injury from dangerous parts of machinery.”

 Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We 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.
  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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