A Gloucestershire paper producer has been fined for unsafe Health & Safety work practices after an employee’s hand was crushed in an unguarded machine during the cleaning process.

The worker received a serious crushing injury, cuts and bruising to his right hand when it was drawn between the rollers of a paper coating machine in April 2012. He was unable to return to work for two months.

The Magistrates’ Court heard that an HSE investigation established that the rollers had to be cleaned on a regular basis, sometimes several times a day, when the coating material used was changed. The five rollers are protected in use by fixed guards, however, these guards must be removed for cleaning.

The HSE found that this system of work was unsafe and exposed employees to unnecessary injury risk. Non-routine operations such as cleaning or maintenance are not exempt from this requirement and that an alternative system to clean the rollers should have been provided.

The company was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £1,483 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Source: HSE website