Severe Burns for Workers lead to Prosecution

Marling Leek Ltd has been prosecuted after an incident at their premises in August 2011. An employee for the company was working on a dye machine during a night shift when the webbing for seatbelts and harnesses got caught up in the machine. Stewart Wood didn’t isolate the machine before climbing on to it in order to unravel the blockage. His arm was caught and dragged up into the rollers which were unguarded. He tried to release his left arm by pushing the roller on the top up, but his right arm got trapped inside too.

There were other workers present who heard the screams from Mr Wood.  The colleague who found Mr Wood didn’t know how to stop the machine or remove Mr Wood’s arms so he ran to get help.  Mr Wood was finally released but by that time he had experienced severe burns and a lot of skin damage to his arms.

Weeks of Recovery after the Incident

The sixty year old operator was taken immediately to the hospital at North Staffordshire.  From there he was taken to Birmingham hospitals special burns unit. During his two week stay he had to have skin grafts and as a result of the accident he has permanently lost touch sensations to the affected part of his arms.  Mr Wood has since returned to work after many weeks off to recover.

The Health and Safety Executive investigated the accident and exposed the fact that Marling Leek had not created a safe system of work for Mr Wood and other operators of the machine. This meant that all workers were put at high risk over many years.  Mr Wood had worked for the firm for 12 years before the incident and not once had he received the right training, provided with instructions on how to safely complete his work or provided with information about his duties.  Mr Wood therefore had no idea of how to remove trapped webbing from the machine safely.

Improvement Notices and Prosecution for the Leek Firm

After the investigation the company was served two Improvement Notices. The first one was relating to the incident and was ordering the company to perform a risk assessment which was to include working with wrap around and working at height.  The second Notice was concerning an unrelated problem discovered by the HSE.  The powder dye room is a wet environment and the electrics in the room weren’t waterproof so this needed to be correct immediately.

Marling Leek was fined £5,000 after pleading guilty for breaking Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.  The Staffordshire firm were also ordered to pay £5,827 in costs.

Don’t Take Risks

As an employer you have a responsibility to your workforce to prove safe working environments and safe methods of work. You must also complete fire risk assessments and risk assessments. If you require assistance you can contact health and safety consultants to assist you.  Health and safety services are there to help avoid accidents and incidents and ensure you are fulfilling your legal duties to avoid prosecution by the HSE. 0800 1488 677 is the number to call and speak directly to experienced Health and Safety Consultants today.

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