CEP Ceilings has been hit with a hefty fine following an accident in which an employee's arm was injured after getting caught in a machine.
The worker was operating a amchine at its premises in Stafford last year when his forearm got trapped in its intermeshing metal gears. He subsequently had to undergo skin grafts in order for the wounds to heal.
Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the work accident came about partly because CEP Ceilings failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment on the site.
The HSE also discovered that the company had not implemented a safe system of work, while employees were not monitored sufficiently when they were using machinery.
CEP Ceilings later pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 at Stafford Magistrates' Court.
The company was ordered to pay a £24,000 fine plus £1,194 in costs.
Unsafe Methods 'Existed for Many Years'
After the sentence was issued in court, the HSE criticised CEP Ceilings for having adopted an unsafe way of working for a long time.
Wayne Owen, an inspector at the watchdog, said procedures that had not been fit for purpose had "existed for many years" and this led to the employee suffering a "painful injury".
"CEP Ceilings [failed] to effectively assess the risk to employees from using and clearing the machine and then prescribe a system of work which kept employees safe," he commented.
"Workers were left to determine their own methods of cleaning machinery."
Mr Owen insisted that employers must implement safe working procedures and ensure members of staff are properly instructed and trained on how to comply with these rules in full.
This, he said, can help to manage risks during both production and maintenance activities at premises where industrial machinery is in use.
"A robust system to monitor employees also needs to be in place to detect any poor practices," Mr Owen commented.
Related Work Accident in Staffordshire
The case follows another work accident in which Andrew Thomas, an employee at Marling Leek in Staffordshire, also suffered an arm injury after it got caught in an unguarded machine.
Mr Thomas subsequently had to undergo five operations, but was left with permanent scars, while the strength and feeling in his arm has been reduced as a result of nerve damage and muscle loss.
The HSE was particularly critical of Marling Leek as it had been prosecuted over a previous accident in the past, but had failed to address the problems and carry out an adequate risk assessment throughout the business.
Lyn Spooner, an inspector at the HSE, insisted that carrying out a risk assessment is a "vital process to allow a company to identify significant risk and ensure it is complying with relevant statutory provisions".
She added that there is extensive guidance on preventing access to dangerous machine parts in the workplace to enable employers to comply with the law.