An accident at work has resulted in a Staffordshire manufacturing firm being heavily fined by the Stafford Crown Court after it pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations.
Marling Leek Limited was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay the costs of the prosecution after one of its employees, Mr Andrew Thomas, shattered his arm in an injury at work involving a warping machine on 13 August 2012.
On the day in question Mr Thomas was operating a warping machine – a machine which drags yarn at high speed through a series of rollers under tension – when he noticed that one of the balls of yarn had become trapped. He reached into the machine to free the yarn but, as he did so, his arm was dragged into the machine and crushed between two rollers. He was then trapped in the machine until the fire brigade managed to free him from the rollers and he was rushed to hospital by air ambulance. It is not currently known whether Mr Thomas has decided to claim personal injury as a result of his accident.
The Health and Safety Executive was informed of the accident and subsequently investigated the case. This investigation found that there had been a number of potential health and safety failings by the company, including:
- A failure to install guards on the warping machine
- A failure to carry out a sufficient or suitable risk assessment
The case came before the Stafford Crown Court on 11 December 2013. Marling Leek Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and was, as a result, fined £35,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling £5,257.
There does not appear to have been any comment from Marling Leek Limited or its criminal defence solicitors after the hearing.
Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers have an obligation to, among other things, identify risks to their employees and take action to minimize these risks. The HSE felt in this instance that the company hadn’t properly identified the risks and therefore hadn’t taken the proper steps to protect its employees from harm.”
HSE Inspector Ms Lyn Spooner stated after the sentencing: “Preventing access to dangerous parts of machinery is long established and there are ample guidance and industry standards to allow dutyholders to achieve compliance with the law. This incident was entirely avoidable and Mr Thomas should have been better protected by his employer.”
Redmans Solicitors are employment law solicitors and can help you claim personal injury if you’ve been injured at work.
Please note that Redmans were not associated in any way with this case