A factory worker was left with serious injuries and post-traumatic stress after getting her head trapped between machines at an aluminium container factory, a court heard.
Neath Magistrates’ Court was told 47-year-old Gaynor Gordon was unable to return to work for well over a year following the incident at Envases (UK) Ltd in Port Talbot in July 2012, and she still experiences difficulty with her vision in one eye.
The firm, of Baglan Industrial Park in Port Talbot, was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay £6,590 in costs after admitting it breached the Provision of Work Equipment Regulations 1988.
Trapped worker traumatised
Magistrates heard Mrs Gordon had reached into an unguarded gap, between a packaging machine and strapping machinery, in an effort to retrieve aerosol cans that had fallen off the production line, when a can collection basket lowered leaving her head trapped.
Colleagues freed Mrs Gordon after hearing her cries and she was taken to hospital for treatment on a fractured cheek and eye socket, the court was told.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated the work accident, found there was no guard in place to prevent workers accessing dangerous moving parts of the machinery.
Magistrates heard the executive had served a Prohibition Notice on the firm, preventing it from using the machinery until proper guarding was installed.
The court also heard the problem had been swiftly resolved; Envases having installed fixed mesh guarding later on the same day to enable the machine to be used again.
Firms ‘must review machinery safety risks’
Following the court hearing HSE inspector Clare Owen said the incident, which had a “massive impact” on Mrs Gordon, was “foreseeable and preventable”.
She added: “This prosecution should send a strong signal to companies to identify and act on the risks presented by production machinery and to review the measures they have in place regularly.”
Source: Wales Online