A packaging company based in Essex has been prosecuted and fined, after an employee trapped his hand in a laminating press.
Gary Dean, from Southend-on-Sea, was working for Frith’s Flexible Packaging Ltd, operating a glue based laminating machine, when he attempted to remove glue residue which had dried onto a roller and was causing a blemish on the finished product.
Southend Magistrates Court was told that the worker had gained access to the roller through an unguarded portal but as he scraped away at the dried glue, the whole of his left hand was dragged into the mechanism.
Mr. Dean required emergency surgery after the accident, in which the skin of his left palm was torn off, he spent two days in hospital and had to endure several months of physiotherapy.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that six years prior to his accident Mr. Dean had removed a safety guard from the laminating machine, in order to make setting up easier and other staff including his supervisor had continued to use the machine in this way ever since.
Frith’s Flexible Packaging Ltd, of Temple Farm Industrial Estate, Southend-on-Sea, was fined £8,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Speaking after the court hearing an inspector from the HSE stated that safety guards were fitted to machines for good reason and should not be removed for the sake of convenience, he added that it was particularly disturbing that the guard in this instance had been missing for several years.