A HUNTINGDON pharmaceutical packaging company has been ordered to pay £7,500 after an employee’s arm was dragged into a machine.

John Armstrong of Pidley suffered severe crush injuries which required almost a hundred stitches to his hand, wrist and arm while working at Firstan Limited, Cardinal Way in Huntingdon.

Mr Armstrong, 63, was working on a machine that flattens and folds boxes to be sent to pharmaceutical companies in which to pack medicines.

While supervising the machine's operation on November 18, Mr Armstrong noticed a box had been ejected from the machine rollers and he went over to clear the boxes with a broom. However, as he did this the machine started to malfunction.

He reached around the machine to hit the stop button but his arm was pulled into the 'in-running nip' of the rollers, and he sustained serious injuries to his arm.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting, told Huntingdon Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (May 24) that Firstan Limited had not put in place measures to prevent employees accessing dangerous parts of machinery.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Stephen Faulkner said: "While Firstan Limited asserted Mr Armstrong should not have been engaging in that activity at that time, the court accepted he would not have sustained his injuries had the machine been properly guarded.

"In-running nips are a common hazard in many industries including printing and should be guarded to prevent human contact. They are caused by the rotating parts on machinery. These parts may be in contact, producing a nip point. This danger is common on machines with intermeshing gears and rolling mills.

"Employers using heavy machinery should take heed that suitable information, training and supervision should be given to all staff using such machinery."

Firstan Limited pleaded guilty to breaching the provision and use of work equipment regulations 1998 and were fined £5,000 with costs of £2,521.20.