A printing firm has today (Wednesday) been fined £12,000 after an employee had two fingers crushed when they became trapped in unguarded machinery at its Kimbolton plant.
A 39-year-old print worker from Sawtry was working on a label printing machine at Clondalkin Pharma & Healthcare’s factory on the Harvard Industrial Estate on September 14 2012 when the incident happened.
As he was trying to clear a piece of adhesive from the anvil of the machine while it was running, his right hand became caught and two of his fingers were crushed. He subsequently made a full recovery.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive, which prosecuted Clondalkin for a safety breach at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court.
The court was told that the HSE found the machine involved and a further three printing machines at the factory had inoperable interlocked guards. This meant that operators were able to run the machines without guards in place.
Despite having assessed the risks, the company, which has a head office in Bristol, did not identify this danger and instead relied on instructing operators to close the guards.
Clondalkin Pharma & Healthcare (Kimbolton) Ltd was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,890 after pleading guilty to breaching provision and use of work equipment and health and safety regulations.
Following the case, HSE inspector Alison Ashworth, said: “This case highlights the need for employers to assess risks adequately.
“It is a well-known fact that unguarded printing machines can cause major injuries and Clondalkin should have known better than to let its workers use inadequately-guarded machinery.
“Instructing operators to close guards is not reliable enough, as this incident demonstrates.
“Guards on machinery are there for a reason and they should be maintained in working order and checked for possible failures regularly. Had the guards been operational on the machine this worker used, he would not have had to suffer such a painful injury.”