A personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturer has been handed a four-figure fine following a workplace accident in which a worker suffered a crush injury.
In January 2013 a 47-year-old worker was preparing paint for a printer at JSP Ltd's factory in Oxfordshire when part of the device moved without warning. Her hand was struck by the machine and she was unable to remove it.
As a result, the employee was left with a broken knuckle and serious damage to her nerves, which has led to her losing dexterity in her hand. Furthermore, she was unable to work for a number of months due to her injuries.
Work Accient Investigation
JSP Ltd was subsequently investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which found the work accident injury occurred as a result of a failure in part of the printing machine.
Although no injuries had occurred while the machine had been in use throughout the previous eight years, no checks or maintenance on the safety devices had been carried out throughout this period.
The HSE decided the machine had been unsafe to use at the time of the accident and therefore launched a prosecution against JSP Ltd.
Breach of Regulations
Representatives of the firm admitted in Oxford Magistrates' Court to breaching two sections of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
The first states that employers must do everything in their power to prevent access to any part of a machine or to any rotating stock bar that might potentially be dangerous, or to stop their movement before any part of a person's body comes into close proximity with them.
JSP also contravened a regulation stating that firms must make sure that all protection devices and guards are fit for purpose, properly maintained and in a good state of repair.
After admitting the lapses in Court, the company was ordered to pay a £4,000 fine, as well as costs of £1,064.
Kelly Nichols, an inspector at the HSE, commented, "This was a preventable incident.
"JSB Ltd had carried out a risk assessment in 2007 that identified maintenance checks were not being carried out on the printing machine, but they had failed to follow this through by taking action to manage that risk," she said.
"As a result, the micro switches on the guards had not been checked at regular intervals. When the interlocked sliding door guard was opened, the micro switch should have cut the power to the dangerous moving parts, allowing the operator to access the area safely, but it had failed and one of their employees unfortunately paid the price."
Firms Should Not Be Complacent
Ms Nichols insisted that employers cannot afford to become complacent when it comes to workplace machinery, as it is wrong to assume devices that have been operating for a considerable period of time will remain safe indefinitely.
She added that this is vital in order to ensure a company's workforce is kept free from risk and that the business is able to keep functioning efficiently.