An accident which resulted in a woodworking machine leaving an employee with a crushed ankle could have easily been prevented, according to a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector.
Berian Price was speaking after a court case which saw Loughborough-based Advance Display Ltd fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £2,677 in costs.
The firm, of Falcon Business Park, admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The court heard the accident at work happened on January 28 2013 when the 46-year-old man, who does not want to be named, was attempting to lubricate the grease unit of a computer-controlled machine and had one foot on its base plate.
Worker needed two operations
The man, who lives in Whitwick, near Coalville, Leicestershire, had asked a co-worker to switch it on.
But the man’s colleague lost sight of him and could not see that he was not clear of the machine.
As it was already programmed it had moved forward straight away, leaving his ankle crushed between the base plate and the machine’s large moving bed, the court heard.
Following his accident the man was off work for five months and had to undergo two operations.
The court heard that although he has now gone back to work and can walk unaided he will never get full movement back in his foot and ankle.
A HSE investigation found that a hand-held mobile pendant that operators had previously used to remotely control the machine had not been replaced or repaired after breaking over three-and-a-half years earlier.
After the case Mr Price said the firm had been grossly negligent by failing to consider the risk posed to workers carrying out certain tasks on the machinery.
‘Accident entirely preventable’
He said the accident stemmed from failing to keep the remote-control pendant in good working order and having a safe working system in place.
Mr Price said the employee had needlessly suffered a severe injury in an accident that was completely preventable.
According to the HSE machinery kills about a dozen people and injures 40,000 more each year in the UK.
Accident Advice Helpline can help people who’ve been injured in an accident at work establish whether they can claim compensation.