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A 50-year old man from Staffordshire was injured at work in an accident at Marling Leek's factory, Stafford Magistrates' Court was told yesterday, December 11th.
Andrew Thomas, from Leek, was operating a warping machine that runs between 150 and 220 revolutions per minute to take the ends of yarn from bobbins and turn them into a product called a beam.
But when a piece of loose yarn stopped components of the device from working properly, his arm was dragged inside and crushed between two rollers; completely shattering it.
Mr Thomas was trapped for 30 minutes before the fire brigade managed to free him, before he was rushed to a local hospital by air ambulance.
After being informed of the work accident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that despite the machine being in place since 1988, it was never considered that there was a need to put guarding in place, despite the obvious dangerous nature of its rollers.
While a risk assessment had been conducted by Marling Leek, HSE investigators concluded it was not suitable or sufficient because it failed to identify a number of dangers.
For its part in Mr Thomas' injuries, which included permanent scarring, reduced strength and nerve damage, Marling Leek was fined £35,000 and told to pay £5,257 in costs after it pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 3(1)(a) the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
After the trial, HSE inspector Lyn Spooner said, "The process of risk assessment is a vital process to allow a company to identify significant risk and ensure it is complying with the relevant statutory provisions.
"In this case the process of risk assessment was not suitable or sufficient and this, together with the company's failure to heed warnings, has meant that a very obvious risk has been left to exist for many years."
By Francesca Witney
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