A laundry firm has been fined after a teenager got trapped in machinery and suffered serious spine and leg injuries.
Cleantex Ltd, of Stafford Park, Telford, Shropshire, pleaded guilty to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.
Telford Magistrates’ Court heard 19-year-old Matthew Brown was trying to get a piece of clothing out of an industrial laundry machine when the accident at work happened in October 2013.
He needed emergency surgery for a broken ankle and fractured four of his vertebrae, spending more than a week in hospital.
Off work for seven months
Mr Brown, of Telford, was off work for seven months but has now returned to light duties at the laundry firm, the court was told.
Magistrates were told a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) probe had found that Cleantex Ltd had failed to implement measures to stop staff accessing dangerous moving parts of their heavy machinery.
Mr Brown, they heard, wrongly thought that a conveyor belt inside the washing machine had stopped moving when he went to retrieve the clothing. But while he was inside the conveyor belt completed its cycle and trapped the teenager against the floor.
Teen’s future ‘severely affected’
The court heard the HSE investigation found that an access gate to the area was not interlocked or fixed in place.
Following the court case Lyn Mizen, a HSE inspector, said Mr Brown’s future had been badly affected at the age of just 19.
She said the accident could have been easily avoided had the gate used by Mr Brown to get into the machine been fitted with an interlock.
The inspector said the company had failed to implement simple measures to stop its employees accessing moving parts of machinery that were dangerous.
She added that firms should control the risks workers face by making sure that they have safe procedures in place and by providing proper training, instruction and information.
Source: Shropshire Live