As one British quilt maker discovered, authorities will design a significant fine for you if your safety standards are not up to par.
The Middleton employer was fined recently after a worker suffered severe injuries when his right hand was trapped in a moving machine.
The 60-year-old, from Rochdale, who did not want to be named, was carrying out maintenance work on a pillow filling machine at Comfy Quilts Ltd in Stakehillwhen the incident happened in July of 2013.
The company, which designs and manufactures pillows, quilts and other bed linen, was prosecuted in late May by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found it had not provided suitable safe systems of work or adequate training for maintenance workers.
Incorrect Procedures Lead to Two Months Missed Work
Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the worker was attempting to rectify a problem with the pillow filler. The fixed guards had been removed to allow access, but correct procedures to isolate the power supply had not been followed and his right hand was trapped in the machine as a result.
He lost a significant amount of skin and badly fractured his thumb, which had to be pinned following surgery. He was unable to return to work for two months and could then only undertake light duties.
HSE served an Improvement Notice at the Stakehill site in the aftermath of the incident and also carried out an inspection of the company’s other site in Middleton. This resulted in further Improvement Notices being served, all highlighting the general lack of knowledge about the importance of machinery guarding.
The court was told Comfy Quilts Ltd made several changes to its working practices following the incident, including making and publishing risk assessments for working on each machine at the site, and formally implementing procedures and training for maintenance staff.
Comfy Quilts Ltd, of Stakehill Industrial Estate in Middleton, was fined more than $20,000 and ordered to pay a little more than $1,200 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: email@example.com.
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