Assistant Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

August 9, 2019

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In court

Recycling firm fined after employee loses two fingers

A Manchester based company has been fined after an employee seriously injured his hand and lost two fingers whilst clearing a baler blockage.

On 2 October 2018, a worker who had been employed at Wrapp Recycling Ltd for just eight weeks, attempted to clear a blockage hopper of a baler machine at its site in Bolton.

After removing the guard, he leaned into the machine and moved the blocked plastic. The ram then activated and crushed his hand. The incident caused extensive damage to his hand, including the amputation of two fingers for which he is still undergoing treatment.

He has since been unable to return to work.

An HSE investigation found the company had installed a removable guard as blockages in the machine occurred frequently. The employees were not informed of the dangers of accessing the hopper while the power was on, and HSE found was common practice to clear the machine by hand with the machine still running.

The investigation also found there was no suitable risk assessment in place which would have identified the necessary control measures needed, such as a fixed guard and a safe lock off.

Wrapp Recycling Ltd of Bradford Street, Bolton pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,951.90 at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Catherine Lyon said “this incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and implementing a safe system of work.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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