Cardboard manufacturing firm prosecuted after accident at work

by Redmans on October 25, 2013

  • SumoMe

A corrugated cardboard manufacturer has been fined after an employee was seriously injured at work because of health and safety failings in the workplace.

The 29-year-old worker – who does not wish to be named for personal reasons – had been cleaning around a baling machine at Prowell Ltd’s factory in Ellesmere Port when his hand became caught in the machine, crushing his right hand and breaking his arm. It is not currently known whether the worker made a claim for personal injury after the accident.

The Health and Safety Executive were subsequently informed of the accident and commenced an investigation into the circumstances of the accident. This investigation found that there had been the following health and safety breaches by the company which had caused or contributed to the accident:

  • The firm had relocated the control panel and hydraulic control pack to an enclosure away from the machine in order to reduce the risk of fire. However, this created an unguarded gap on the machine into which the worker unwittingly insisted his hand
  • The firm had failed to carry out a risk assessment on the use of the baler
  • The firm had failed to implement a safe system of work on the baler, with employees being asked to clear out waste cardboard and dust inside the enclosure on a daily basis despite the machine still being running

The Health and Safety Executive therefore recommended that a prosecution of the company take place for breaches of health and safety regulations.

The case came before the Chester Magistrates’ Court on 24 October 2013. Prowell Ltd pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Provision and Use  of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1998 and was, as a result, fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,053.

Criminal defence solicitors for the company appear not to have commented after the sentencing.

HSE Inspector Lisa Bailey stated after the sentencing: “The company fitted a temporary mesh guard following the incident and has since installed a permanent fixed and interlocked guard. If these measures had been in place at the time of the incident then the employee’s injuries could have been avoided.”

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Businesses in the United Kingdom have a duty to ensure that their workplaces are reasonably safe for their workers and third parties. Failures to take steps to assess or mitigate against risk to these parties may result in not only prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive but potentially also costly and time-consuming personal injury claims.”

Redmans Solicitors are employment solicitors in Richmond, London, offering employment law advice to employers and employees

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