A Cannock company has been fined after a man was pulled into unguarded rotating parts of a machine and caused the kind of injuries that could lead to accident compensation.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted storage equipment manufacturer Stakapal Ltd following the incident on 20 December 2010, when employee Adrian Taylor, 41, was working on a multi-roll forming machine, which makes metal shelving components from steel coil.
Mr Taylor was adjusting the rollers to produce brackets from an unusually thick steel sheet when his high-visibility vest and jacket became caught in the machine's spindle.
He was pulled forward into the machinery and sustained a number of injuries including a cut to the back of his head, cuts above his right eye and on his back, a swollen cheek bone, bruises on his right arm and a puncture hole in his right elbow.
Stafford Magistrates' Court heard the married father-of-two from Cannock, who has returned to work, still suffers from headaches and pain in his muscles.
A work compensation claim could provide the kind of payout to offer Mr Taylor peace of mind following the physical and psychological trauma of his ordeal.
HSE's investigation into the incident found that a fixed guard, which would have protected workers from dangerous parts of the machine, had been removed at least two to three years previously.
There were no interlocking guards around the rolling mills and there was only one emergency stop button, which is the kind of neglectful planning that could result in the worker winning an accident compensation payout.
The court also heard the company had left Mr Taylor to operate the machine on his own and had not supervised him properly or assessed the risks arising from adjusting the rollers during productions.
Stakapal Ltd, of Betty's Lane, Norton Canes, Cannock, pleaded guilty today to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,500 costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Wai-Kin Liu said:
"It is fortunate that Mr Taylor did not suffer more serious injuries in this needless incident that highlighted the safety failings at Stakapal's premises.
"The risks from machinery are well known and the standards in guarding are well established. Failing to ensure that suitable guards are installed and properly maintained is unacceptable and illegal.
"Employers must also review their risk assessment when unusual materials or processes are introduced to the workplace."
Posted by Bryony Flack-Crane