Company fined £40,000 after Rugby worker’s hand crushed in machine
- November 2, 2016
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A food packaging company has been fined £40,000 after a worker’s hand was crushed – ending his 30-year career as a mechanic.
The incident happened on June 6, 2015, at the IFCO Systems UK site in Rugby when the worker was fixing an air leak in a pipe that led to a pneumatic lifting table.
A temporary fix was made so that the production line could continue and then the worker returned with his tools during a break.
Despite switching off the electrical supply, the pneumatic lifting table lifted, crushing his left hand.
The man feared that he would be trapped for the full 30-minute break as his team leader was wearing ear defenders and could not hear his cries for help.
However a forklift driver was passing and heard him, and freed his trapped hand.
A victim statement read to the court said that the man now had limited movement in his hand and undergoes painful physiotherapy.
He also had to abandon his electrical qualification and mechanic work to take up an unskilled job due the damage caused by his injury.
At Nuneaton Justice Centre on Monday, October 10, the company admitted health and safety breaches .
Magistrates fined IFCO £40,000 with costs of just under £5,000.
The court heard that the worker , who was originally from Poland, was among 40 of 56 agency staff on site who did not speak English as their first language.
They had received verbal training from the company in Polish, but all health and safety and machine documentation was in English.
There was also no specific training on the pneumatic systems or the dangers of stored air pressure and its safe release.
Investigating officers found that there was no risk assessment in place for replacing the pipes, and that no-one had verified that the pneumatic system was isolated before the operative started work.
In mitigation, the court was told that IFCO had no previous convictions and that the company had cooperated with the investigation .
Rugby councillor Lisa Parker said: “The injuries inflicted in this case could have been significantly worse, and at one point it looked like the operative’s hand would have to be amputated.
“Employers must carry out regular risk assessments and inspections on their machinery, and make sure that all of their staff have access to training and documentation that they can read and understand.”
Coventry Telegraph 02/11/2016
Mike Massen of Cohen Cramer Solicitors
“it is good to see that prosecutions for such accidents are on the increase; accidents do happen but employers need to be aware that they will be taken to account if the accident is the result of their negligence and failure to implement appropriate systems”