A worker suffered serious injuries after getting trapped in a machine at a polythene-making factory, a court heard.
The man has lost the function of one of his kidneys as a result of the accident at work, Chester Crown Court heard.
His employer, London-based British Polythene Ltd, was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £10,033 in costs after admitting breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
Worker was on night shift
The court heard the man was operating a machine during a night shift at BPI Widnes Films on Warrington Road, Widnes, Cheshire, when the accident happened in January 2014.
During a delay before its pneumatic arms were activated he had walked down the machine to check for damage to the polythene film, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says.
He noticed some debris which could have resulted in damage to the roll of polythene but as he tried to remove it he got trapped by the machine’s pivot arm.
The court heard the man’s upper body was trapped in the machine for more than a minute before his colleagues managed to free him. He sustained injuries to his kidney, lungs and spleen in the accident and had to spend days in a hospital’s intensive care unit.
‘Accident was avoidable’
The HSE says a risk related to the pivot arms on a similar machine had previously been identified by the firm, which had then implemented the proper control measures.
Had the man’s employer done the same thing with the machine he was working on, the accident could have been prevented.
HSE inspector Adam McMahon says the accident and the man’s life-changing injuries could have been avoided had a suitable risk assessment been carried out by the firm and the necessary control measures put in place.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: September 16, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown