Company fined after worker’s scalp torn from head

A company in Scunthorpe has been fined £70,000 after a 26-year-old employee’s scalp and an ear were ripped off after his hair got stuck in a machine.

The man was working for Caspian Group Limited (formerly known as Caspian Access and Plant Hire Limited) when he went to oil a machine at the company’s site on East Common Lane, Scunthorpe, on 25 October 2018.

His hair, which was tied back in a ponytail, became trapped in the machine’s rotating shaft. His scalp was torn from the back of his head and his face was torn, ripping off one of his ears. He also had an injury to his left-index finger, with the tip having to be amputated.

The man was hospitalised for two weeks and required skin grafts.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the machine, an MPC Micromatic Timber stress grading machine, was purchased second-hand and installed at Caspian around December 2017.

Since then, those working on the machine had been routinely required to gain access into the machine where dangerous parts, such as helical rollers, chain conveying mechanisms, rotating power bars and drive parts were all located.

The machine had obvious risks, which included workers being drawn in and crushed, which Caspian were aware of. However, the company failed to adequately control these risks by installing suitable guards that would have prevented access to this machine and possibly stopped this incident from happening. Instead, the firm relied on employees following a system of work which did not control the risks they were exposed to.

HSE inspector Kirstie Durrans commented: “Serious accidents occur each year due to companies not identifying and managing the risks posed by machinery. The dangers of unguarded machinery are well known.

“If Caspian Group Limited had properly assessed the risks and then installed suitable guards the incident would not have happened.”

Caspian Group Limited, of East Common Lane, Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company were fined £70,000 and ordered to pay £13,012.76 in costs at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court on 22 November 2022.

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.
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