Story by: ANDREW PAPWORTH
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
A FACTORY worker who was crushed to death inside an industrial printing machine most likely bypassed a safety barrier in order to gain entry to the device, an inquest has ruled.
A jury of six men and three women believed that Zydre Groblyte either climbed over the gate or ducked through a gap so she could put thinners into the ink pads of the equipment at RGE Engineering’s site in Godmanchester without having to restart the machine.
Co-workers then heard the Lithuanian, who was employed as a temporary worker from City Staff recruitment in Peterborough, scream as the machine started working and she was trapped inside.
Jurors at Huntingdon Law Courts returned a verdict of accidental death but said it was “more likely than not that a colleague started the machine by accident” by activating a foot pedal which enabled it to start.
However they believed there was a “failure to ensure adequate guarding” of the machine.
“We believe it ought to have been known to management that temporary workers accessed the machine other than through the safety gate,” they added.
Had the 23-year-old, of New Road, Woodston, Peterborough, opened the safety barrier it would have automatically cut power to the machine and prevented the accident, workers at RGE told the inquest.
However Inspector Mark Greenhalgh, the police officer who attended the incident at around 2.20pm on April 27 this year, said in his statement that he thought the incident “was a result of bad working practices and as a shortcut to not turn the machine off to save time”.
The jury also said the “ongoing supervision of temporary workers, particularly those with poor English language skills, was neither consistent nor adequate”.
They added that the inconsistencies in the training of colleagues contributed “more than minimally, negligibly or trivially to her death”.
The accident left Miss Groblyte with severe head injuries. She was confirmed dead at the scene by paramedics.
A spokesman for RGE Engineering said: “RGE Engineering respects the verdict reached by jury in this matter.
“The circumstances surrounding Zydre’s death remain under investigation by the Health and Safety Executive so it would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time.
“Our sympathies remain with Zydre’s family and friends.”
At the end of the three-day inquest Belinda Cheney, deputy coroner for South and West Cambridgeshire, said to Miss Groblyte’s mother, who was sitting in the hearing: “May I pass on condolences for the tragic loss of your daughter.”