Company fine after worker traps hands

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A LANGLEY Mill firm was fined £14,000 after a worker trapped his hands in machinery and was left with serious injuries.

The production operative suffered fractures in two fingers, a twisted knuckle and burns to his forearms after his hands became trapped in a large piece of equipment containing heated rollers.

The incident happened at Amber Composite’s factory in May last year when the worker was cleaning the machine as it was still running. One of the rubber gloves he was wearing became caught in the heated rollers and his hand was dragged in to the machine; when he tried to free himself his other hand also became trapped.

Firefighters took around an hour to free him.

The 52-year-old spent a week in hospital having skin grafts and stitches to both forearms and then underwent physiotherapy and twice-weekly hospital visits due to the loss of grip in his hands. He was off work for five months.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found there was no guarding to prevent access to the moving rollers and the company had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the cleaning of the machine.

There was also evidence that the cleaning regularly took place with the rollers still running.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Fiona Coffey said: “This was an entirely avoidable incident which left a man with severe injuries.

“The company had a legal duty to prevent access to dangerous parts of their machinery, but failed to comply with this duty.

“It had become common practice to clean the machine with the rollers still running. The company failed to proactively assess the risks of cleaning this machine.

“The risks of running rollers and unguarded machinery are well documented by the HSE and free guidance is available on our website. Employers should ensure measures are taken to prevent access to dangerous machinery parts.”

Amber Composites Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching regulations and was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,603.