A factory worker in Greater Manchester lost two fingers in a machine used to punch handles in plastic bags, a court has heard, according to a Health and Safety Executive report.
Karen Schoelzel's employer, Arrow Flexible Packaging Ltd, was prosecuted by the HSE after the incident at the plant on Clarence Street in Golborne.(WCxKit)
Trafford Magistrates Court in Sale heard the 53-year-old from Golborne was replacing the rubber insert under a cutting tool on Nov. 23, 2010 when the machine started operating.
The tool came down on her left hand and, as a result, she lost her entire index finger and her middle finger to below the second knuckle. Schoelzel has been unable to return to work nearly a year on.
HSE issued six Improvement Notices and one Prohibition Notice after an inspector visited the site following the incident. The notices required safety improvements to be made to machines at the factory, and prevented a printing press from operating until suitable guards had been installed.
The HSE investigation found suitable guards were not in place to prevent workers gaining access to the cutting tool while the machine was operating, and that it was common practice for employees to change the rubber on the tool without the power to the machine being cut.
The investigation was unable to confirm what caused the machine to start operating when the rubber insert was being replaced, but it found the buttons which operated it were unsuitable and could have been pressed by accident.(WCxKit)
Arrow Flexible Packaging Ltd. pleaded guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to prevent access to dangerous machine parts. The company was fined $2,393.1 and was ordered to pay 1,595.7 in prosecution costs on Oct. 28, 2011.
On average, 34 workers are killed and nearly 5,000 suffer major injuries in the manufacturing industry in Great Britain every year. Information on preventing injuries is available at www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing.
British Employer Prosecuted after Employee is burned by Metal at Factory
A Staffordshire-based Great Britain aluminum casting company has been prosecuted after a man was burned by molten metal at its Worcester factory.
According to a report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Asim Qureshi, 41, from Worcester, was operating a die cast machine at JVM Castings Ltd's premises in Droitwich Road, when molten metal sprayed from the back of the machine. (WCxKit)
Worcester Magistrates' Court heard the 650 degrees Celsius molten material burned through Qureshi's clothing after landing on him.
He suffered serious burns to his right arm, shoulder, leg and face and was unable to work for two months. He has been left with scarring on his hand and leg. He is still receiving treatment for his burned skin.
A HSE investigation found the rear of the machine was unguarded and, while personal protective equipment is not a substitute for effective guarding, the operators' overalls and eye protection were unsuitable for the amount of molten metal spray.
The court heard there had been three similar previous incidents of molten aluminum blowbacks at the factory, one of which caused serious injuries to another employee seven months before the incident involving Mr Qureshi.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Tariq Khan noted, “Despite three previous incidents, one of which caused serious injuries to another worker, JVM Castings failed to learn from them and did not follow the recommendations of its own investigation.” (WCxKit)
JVM Castings (Worcester) Ltd, of Borman, Apollo, Tamworth, pleaded guilty recently to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £6,000 ($9,300) and ordered to pay £4,000 ($6,200)costs.
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. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com
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