One food packaging worker suffered a serious personal injury claim when he became caught in a Rochdale factory’s machinery.
Whilst the man’s personal injury solicitors declined to release his name to the public, the details of his accident at Manchester’s Elliot Absorbent Products Ltd, were made public. The man’s injuries occurred when he became caught between, and was pulled in, by two large mechanical rollers. As a result he received severe friction burns to his upper body and arms, which were so severely injured that skin grafts were required.
After the personal injury at work occurred, the Health and Safety Executive conducted an investigation of the incident. The HSE’s findings indicated that the machine’s infrared safety sensor, that would shut off the machine if tripped, had been deactivated by the company.
The rationale behind turning off the safety feature was due to large quantities of paper dust particles triggering the machine. As the machine would then shut down, the decision was made to disable the safety feature to make production more efficient.
After Elliott’s admitted breaching Health and Safety regulations, the firm was fined more than £27,000 at Manchester Crown Court. Elliott’s is also to be held responsible for paying in excess of £4,000 in court costs.
One HSE spokesperson said that due to the company’s failure to protect its employees, one worker has now been scarred for life. The spokesperson also stated that the safety feature was disabled without apparently any second thought in regards to the need for such a safeguard.
Elliott’s has since installed a pressure mat as a safety feature. Once stepped upon the machine will automatically cease operating. This will ensure that no more workers come into contact with the dangerous rollers.
In related news, the UK’s manufacturing industry recorded in excess of 19,000 serious injuries to its workforce last year.