Last Friday, chemical manufacturing company Warwick International Group Ltd pled
guilty to two charges under section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act
1974 before magistrates in Mold, North Flintshire, for failing to protect their
workers’ health and safety.
The charges relate to two separate incidents where employees’ hands became
trapped in the same machine, causing serious injury.
The company was fined £12,000 for the first offence, £14,000 for the second
offence and ordered to pay costs of £1,947.20.
In the first incident, on 20 December 2007, employee Clwyd Roberts’ gloved
hand was trapped in the rollers of a bagging machine, causing severe friction
burns, which later required skin grafts.
The company carried out a risk review and assessment of the machine after the
incident, which identified potential hazards, but failed to implement adequate
remedial action to prevent the risk. For example, the risk assessment failed
to identify guarding as a requirement.
Less than a month later, on 13 January 2008, another employee, Allan Breeze,
also got his hand trapped in the machine rollers and suffered friction burns and
tendon damage to his hand and multiple breaks to his ring finger.
After the verdict was announced, Health and Safety officer Jo-Anne Michael
“The company clearly failed to learn from the first incident and it took a
second similar incident before the necessary guarding was put in place on this
machine. The risk review and assessment was clearly inadequate – both incidents
could have been avoided.
“Employers operating machinery must always ensure that risks are fully
assessed and that potentially dangerous moving parts are suitably guarded.
“Both employees needed substantial time off work and, while their injuries
were significant, they could have been even worse.
“The company has now put much tighter procedures into place for this
machine to protect workers’ health and safety.”
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