Manufacturer fined in unguarded machinery case

A manufacturing company in the North West has been fined after an employee sustained serious injuries while operating unguarded machinery.

The managing director of the company, Azura Soft Furnishings Limited, of Highfield Industrial Estate, West End Street, Oldham had instructed two employees to pack duvets, using automatic duvet rolling machinery that was being trialled by the firm. 

What went wrong? 

There were several oversights. Firstly, the employee operating the machinery had not received any training and furthermore did not have the authorisation to operate it. In addition, whilst in use, the employee was able to reach inside the machine through a gap to make an adjustment, at which point they sustained serious injuries to their hand as it made contact with moving parts.  

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concluded that foil had been placed over sensors enabling a sliding perspex door guard to be opened to provide users with a clearer view.  

The company was fined £13,600 and ordered to pay costs of £17,260 for breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 – which states it is the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of all their employees. The MD also accepted a formal caution in relation to a breach of the same section and the failure to provide a safe system of work for employees. 

Lessons learnt 

Incidents like this are common but often entirely preventable. As with all workplace equipment and machinery, adequate training is essential before any user begins operating, to ensure safety and minimise the risk of accidents. Supervision should also be provided throughout use, and checks made to the equipment prior at which point any potential risks can be assessed and rectified before use. 

Aegis provides a comprehensive health and safety management service to help organisations identify and mitigate risks in the workplace. 

Get in touch with our team today to find out how we can help you to become a safer business.