Newsquest Media has been fined £3,000 following a woprkplace accident at its plant in Hampshire in which a worker was seriously injured.
A 49-year-old member of staff was injured when a piece of paper broke and wrapped itself around a rotating printer roller. As soon as he had managed to get most of the paper off the device, he put the machine into a cycle of 8,000 rotations per hour.
The employee subsequently realised that a small piece of paper was still present on the roller, so he used a piece of cloth to try to brush it off. However, the cloth got caught in the machinery and was dragged into it. As a result, he ended up suffering crush injuries to his middle finger and thumb.
Work Accident Investigation
Following the accident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the likely causes. The HSE stated that the worker was injured because the roller had not been guarded, which meant members of staff had been able to access dangerous moving parts.
In addition, it discovered that parts of the machine were routinely removed whenever paper was being cleared from the ink rollers. The HSE said this was the typical way in which paper breaks were dealt with by print room staff at Newsquest Media.
The company was prosecuted at Southampton Magistrates' Court, where it admitted to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Specifically, it breached Regulation (11)1, which states that employers must make sure steps are taken to "prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone".
Newsquest Media was ordered to pay a £3,000 fine, along with costs of £1,560.
Effective Guards on Machinery 'Critical'
The HSE responded to the Court's decision by reminding businesses that it is "critical" to make sure effective guards are in place on machinery. Guy Widdowson, an inspector at the regulator, said these can ensure employees are adequately protected from dangerous moving parts.
"If there is a part of a machine that serves another purpose but is protecting staff from contact regardless, then it needs to be treated as a guard," he commented.
Mr Widdowson went on to state that the work accident at Newsquest Media had been "easily preventable", as all the company needed to do was make sure the machine rollers were not exposed when the press was in operation.
He added that it is only "down to luck" that an accident had not occurred earlier and that the injuries sustained in this particular instance were not more serious.
HSE guidance regarding the provision and use of work equipment states that everybody who uses it must be provided with clear and adequate information on health and safety.
This means they must be furnished with written instructions on how to use the machinery and familiarised with equipment markings and warnings.
By Francesca Witney