A Berkshire labels company has been fined for a safety breach after a worker sustained a serious hand injury when it was caught between two contra rotating rollers on a working machine.
The employee, who does not want to be named, severed the first finger of his right hand to the second knuckle and broke his middle finger in the incident at Berkshire Labels Limited in Charnham Park, Hungerford, on 5 September 2011.
Reading Magistrates' Court heard today (8 January) that he was attempting to clean a coating roller on a finishing machine, and had removed the roller several times to make adjustments and clean away dried on primer.
He then tried to brush off the dried primer from the roller while it was in situ on the working machine, but his right hand was caught and pulled between two rollers, including the one he had just fitted.
He was unable to work for six weeks as a result of his injury and required physiotherapy.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that the machine was missing suitable guarding, and had been for some time. Had a guard been fitted the incident would have been avoided.
Berkshire Labels Limited, of Swanford, Charnham Park, Hungerford, was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £5,637 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.
After the hearing HSE Inspector Sharron Cripps said:
"The employee's painful injury should not and need not have happened, and was easily preventable had Berkshire Labels fitted guarding to prevent access to the rollers.
"Being drawn into machines because of inadequate guarding - and even a total absence of guarding - happens far too regularly. The importance of robust safeguards to protect workers gaining access to dangerous moving machinery cannot be overstated."
Further information on improving safety in manufacturing is available at www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing.
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Issued on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive by the Regional News Network