A global manufacturer has been fined £180,000 ($280,000) after a worker was killed at an Andrex factory in Barrow-in-Furness, Great Britain, according to a report from The Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Christopher Massey died after being struck by a piece of machinery.
Massey, a former Barrow Raiders rugby player, was struck by a piece of machinery while working on a night shift at the Kimberly-Clark plant Nov. 8 2007.(WCxKit)
The company was prosecuted by HSE after an investigation found a dangerous part of a machine, used to produce rolls of Andrex toilet paper, had been left unguarded.
Preston Crown Court heard the 28-year-old had been looking through a gap in the machine to make sure the tissue was being fed through correctly.
As he checked inside the machine it began to move a large, 2-meter wide reel of tissue into place, striking him on the head. His body was discovered 20 minutes later by colleagues shortly before the end of their shift.
The HSE investigation found the machine had been modified four months earlier so that reels of two-ply as well as single-ply toilet paper could be fed through it.
The part of the machine used to hold the large reels of tissue had been moved back so that another piece of machinery could be added to handle the two-ply toilet paper. This created a potentially dangerous gap which Massey and other workers had used to check the tissue was being fed through correctly.
The court was told the factory had been short-staffed on the night of Massey’s death, with two of the four workers in the team off sick. He was moved to work on the part of the machine that fed through the giant reels, despite not having had training on how to operate it since its modification.
The gap in the machine gave him the best vantage point to check the tissue, and none of the workers had been told it was not safe to stand in that position. Following his death the company fitted two sheets of clear plastic over the gap which allowed employees to check the machine without being put at risk.
Kimberly-Clark, Ltd., pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of its employees. The company, of Tower View, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, was ordered to pay £20,000 ($31,000) in prosecution costs in addition to the fine of £180,000 ($280,000). (WCxKit)
Massey was one of 29 workers to be killed while working in the manufacturing industry in Great Britain in 2007-8. More than 5,000 workers also suffered major injuries.
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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