Hull firm fined after worker traps hand in laminating machine
A COMPANY has been fined for safety failings after a worker severely injured his hand when it became trapped in a laminating machine.
Steven Spencer had been feeding paper into the machine, which had "inadequate" safety measures, when his left hand became trapped in the mechanism.
The agency worker's little finger and ring finger were left hanging off the bone, while his middle finger suffered a cut along its full length, Hull Magistrates' Court was told.
Mr Spencer, 36, had only been employed by Excel Laminating Limited, off Leads Road, east Hull, for three weeks when the accident happened.
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Inspector Mark Welsh, of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated the January 2010 accident, said: "Mr Spencer's painful and debilitating injury should not, and need not, have happened.
"The incident was preventable with the provision of an adequate guarding mechanism by Excel Laminating.
"Being drawn into machines because of inadequate guarding – and even a total absence of guarding – happens far too regularly in manufacturing industries.
"In this case, the guarding was insufficient as it didn't prevent access to the drawing-in/crush hazard between the pairs of rollers or the roller and plasterboard.
"The company had not properly identified the risks to its workers from the rollers."
Excel Laminating Limited admitted breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and a second offence under Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.
The company was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £5,451 in costs.
Mr Welsh added: "The importance of robust safeguards to protect workers from getting too close to dangerous moving machinery cannot be overstated."
Speaking after the case, Jeffrey Thomas, managing director of Excel Laminating Limited, said his company – launched in 1998 – had an excellent safety record.
He said: "The company regrets the injury."
Mr Thomas pointed out the court did not issue a separate penalty in relation to an HSE charge of failing to carry out an adequate risk assessment on the machine.
He said: "We pleaded guilty to both charges, but the court chose not to apply a separate penalty in relation to the risk assessment.
"The laminating machine is ten years old and no similar accidents have occurred. "This accident happened more than two years ago. It was the most serious we have had.
"We have an excellent track record for health and safety."
Excel Laminating Limited, which employs 40 people, applies a decorative surface to plasterboard for the building and caravan industries.
According to the latest figures, 27 people working in the manufacturing industry in 2010-11 lost their lives. Almost 4,000 others were badly hurt.
The Mail understands Mr Spencer, of west Hull, is pursuing a civil claim for damages against the firm.
He was unavailable last night for comment.