Expert Work Place Injury Lawyers Call For Lessons To Be Learnt After Four Companies Prosecuted by Health And Safety Watchdog
Workplace injury experts today called for employers across the UK to make safety their ‘number one priority’ after four separate prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlighted the dangers a lack of adequate protection can pose to employees.
The call was made by law firm Irwin Mitchell amidst reports that Synergy Health UK Ltd in Chorley, Orbital Foods Ltd in Suffolk, Coalville-based Kenray Forming Ltd and Jian’s Dumplings Ltd in Edinburgh were fined collectively £24,000 by the HSE after their employees suffered serious injuries at work.
Sally Rissbrook, who specialises in helping people injured in accidents at work, said: “These are just four examples of prosecutions by the HSE related to machine safety. Employers have a duty to ensure they are properly protected from harm but this is especially important when it comes to the use of heavy machinery in an industrial setting.
“Employees have the right to go to work without the fear of being injured and I hope these cases are a stark reminder for other employers that health and safety standards must be maintained so that other people don’t suffer painful and debilitating injuries which can have a major impact on their lives.”
Synergy Health UK Ltd was prosecuted by the health and safety watchdog after a 39-year-old man form Bamber Bridge lost part of his thumb when it became trapped in machinery in November 2011. An investigation found the guards on its dry wipes machine was not sufficient and the worker had not received adequate training.
Magistrates in Leyland heard the company had failed to carry out a proper risk assessment and the firm pleaded guilty to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,573 costs.
At Orbital Foods, which buys and sells used food processing machinery, was prosecuted by the HSE for failing to prevent an accident in which a worker’s arm was crushed when the power for a bacon press machine he was reconditioning was not turned off.
An HSE investigation found that no risk assessment had been carried out on the machine which led to Rui Sousa, 46, suffering a fractured arm, cuts and crush injuries in March 2012. The firm, of Chapel Pond Hill, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £2,634 costs by Bury St Edmonds Magistrates’ Court.
Kenray Forming Ltd was also fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,932 costs at Hinckley Magistrates’ Court after an employee from Leicester lost part of his finger in a packing machine.
The worker, 41, who was not named, was test running a bagging machine when he slipped and caught his hand in between the machine’s conveyor belt and rollers. His ring finger was severed below his knuckle and he fractured the rest of the fingers on his right hand.
The company admitted breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations Act 1998 after the court heard they failed to provide proper safety guards for the machine.
Edinburgh company Jian’s Dumplings Ltd was also fined £1,000 after 22-year-old factory assistant Joseph Burnett suffered two fractured fingers and ripped tendons in his index and middle fingers when his hand was pulled into a dough machine, used to make Chinese dumplings.
Following the incident, a HSE investigation found the company had failed to carry out a risk assessment and there was no locking mechanism on the machine which would have cut the power to the rotating blades when the metal shutter was lifted.