A packaging firm in Blackburn, Lancashire, has been fined more than £50,000 after a Health and Safety Executive investigation into a worker’s injury revealed ‘appalling’ safety standards.
Europlast (Blackburn) Ltd was prosecuted after an employee had part of a finger amputated following an industrial accident. Preston Crown Court heard that the 26 year old employee from Blackburn had been working on a machine used to produce bubble wrap when the accident at work happened at the Shadsworth Business Park plant on 6 June 2012.
He had been trying to remove small pieces of plastic which had become stuck when his hand was pulled in between two rollers. The young man suffered burns and crush injuries to his hand, required skin grafts and had to have the top half of his middle finger amputated.
The Court was told two other workers had previously suffered injuries when their hands became trapped in machinery in April 2012 & September 2011.
It seems that this company had previous bad form. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) first made Europlast aware of the need to guard dangerous machine parts during a visit to the site in September 2009. This warning was repeated in July 2011 when an external Health & Safety Consultant highlighted ‘intolerable risks’ from missing guards on machines.
Europlast (Blackburn) Ltd, of Duttons Way, Blackburn, was fined £50,010 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £23,102 after admitting breaches of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 & the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The work accident investigation revealed a complete absence of any attempt to organise or control health and safety at the factory. The company did not act on previous warnings and it is clear that the company demonstrated a total lack of care about the safety of its employees.
Amputations are classed as Serious Injuries. At Slater and Gordon Lawyers we know that securing rehabilitation at the earliest possible time after an amputation is crucial. Wherever possible we will use the Rehabilitation Code to access early support to address the complications which can occur, such as Phantom Limb Pain or the psychological impact of losing a limb/limbs.
Tracey Graham is a Personal Injury Solicitor specialising in work accident claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.
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