Lawford Kidd, Personal Injury Solicitors

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Company fined after worker's hand crushed

A Wellingborough firm has been fined for safety breaches after a worker’s hand was crushed in an unguarded laminating machine.

Michael Taylor suffered serious injuries when his right hand and forearm were drawn into gluing rollers of the machine. Mr Taylor has had four operations and extensive physiotherapy but it is unlikely he will ever regain full movement in his hand.

The court heard that the company, which uses recycled paper to make pallets, failed to ensure a honeycomb laminating machine was guarded and that staff were adequately trained and supervised in order to use it safely.

HSE found several failings. Mr Taylor was inadequately supervised and the machinery was unguarded at several points, not just where the incident occurred. The guarding over the gears and chains allowed access to dangerous moving parts, and some of the emergency stops did not work properly.

In addition the company had not carried out a risk assessment on the machine. This meant there was no safe system of work for cleaning the gluing rollers or for the operation, use and maintenance of the line.

Following the incident, the company introduced a light guard system, which shuts down the line if anyone breaks the beam to approach dangerous moving parts.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £10,877 costs.

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