A packaging company has been fined after a worker’s thumb was severed due to the company’s failure to take adequate measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery.
Jiffy Packaging Company Limited, which produces packaging for the food industry and stationery products, was found guilty at Liverpool Crown Court today after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The Court heard the worker reached through an unguarded section in the frame of one of the machines to clean ink from a roller. The rag he was using got caught in one of the motorised cogs, causing his hand to be pulled into the rotating cogs. His left thumb was severed, resulting in him receiving skin grafts in hospital and being unable to work for 15 weeks.
Although the company had partially guarded the rollers and cogs of the machine with an interlocked guard, they failed to take adequate measures to prevent access to all dangerous parts of machinery.
The HSE investigation found the company’s risk assessment had been written nine years earlier by an employee untrained in creating risk assessments. The assessment did not identify risks related to unguarded machinery or any control measures.
The court heard the company had previously been served with several HSE Improvement Notices highlighting machinery guarding issues.
Jiffy Packaging Company Ltd, of Road Four, Winsford, Cheshire was found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at work etc Act 1974 and was fined £70,000 with full costs of £53,509.
HSE inspector Adam McMahon said after the hearing: “The employee’s life changing injuries could have been prevented if a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had been completed and the correct control measures implemented.
It is always frustrating to read cases whereby companies have been advised by the HSE and indeed served notices to make improvements for the benefit of their employees and fail to act on this advice resulting in a life changing injury. Consideration for assessing risks from machinery should be implemented across all activities, including non-operational tasks of commissioning, servicing, maintenance, testing, cleaning and decommissioning. The management of risk does not need to be complicated or time-consuming, but it does require the skills of a competent person”.