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Worker lost finger in unguarded machinery

November 15 2016

A packaging company has been fined after a worker’s finger was severed while operating machinery.

Jiffy Packaging Company Limited, which produces food packaging and stationery products, was found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act at Liverpool Crown Court.

The court heard that the worker was reaching through an unguarded section in the frame of one of the machines in order to clean ink from a roller, when the rag he was using got caught in one of the motorised cogs.

The worker’s hand was pulled into the cogs, and his left thumb was severed. He required skin grafts in hospital and was unable to work for 15 weeks.

Although the company had partially guarded the rollers and cogs of the machine, they failed to take adequate measures to prevent access to all dangerous parts of the machinery.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company’s risk assessment had been written nine years earlier, by an employee who was not trained in writing them. The risk assessment did not identify any risks related to unguarded machinery or any control measures.

The court heard the company had previously been served with several HSE Improvement Notices, which had highlighted issues with guarding machinery.

HSE inspector, Adam McMahon, said after the hearing: “The employee’s life-changing injuries could have been prevented if a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had been completed and the correct control measures implemented.

“The day after the accident the company carried out a new risk assessment of the machine and guarded the area in which the employee reached through with a clear plastic screen. The company followed this up with a written safe system of work relating to cleaning the rollers.”

The company was fined £70,000 with full costs of £53,509.