A factory worker shattered his arm after getting it trapped in an unguarded machine, a court was told.
Stafford Magistrates’ Court heard employees at Marling Leek Ltd were exposed to significant risk for years after the warping machine was installed in 1988.
Andrew Thomas, 50, was left permanently scarred and with reduced strength and feeling in his arm due to nerve damage and muscle loss following the incident in August 2012.
The company, which weaves and dyes seatbelt and harness webbing, was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £5,257 costs after admitting it breached the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.
Magistrates heard Mr Thomas was operating a warping machine, which runs at up to 220rpm, when he tried retrieving some loose yarn. His arm was dragged into the machine and crushed between two pre-tension rollers.
Mr Thomas was trapped for about 30 minutes until firefighters dismantled the machine to free him, enabling an air ambulance to fly him to hospital.
Worker needed five ops
The court heard Mr Thomas required five operations to pin and plate his arm before returning to work in May 2013, nine months after the accident at work.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said its investigation found that the company, of Marling Mills, Nelson Street, Leek, Staffordshire, had never recognised the need to guard the machine.
The court heard the firm resolved a similar problem in its dye house after being prosecuted in June 2012 for an incident the previous August. But it hadn’t then reviewed other parts of the business where near-identical failings existed.
The HSE said, though a risk assessment was conducted, it wasn’t sufficient as it didn’t identify that the law required the machinery to be guarded from the risk posed by the tension rollers.
Since the 2012 incident interlocked perimeter guards have been fitted on the machine and the risk assessment updated.
Accident Advice Helpline can advise employees who’ve suffered a personal injury at work, whether they are likely to have grounds to make a claim for compensation or not.
Source: The Sentinel
Date Published: December 14, 2013
Author: David Brown