Richard John Pullinger, a sole trader that recycles cardboard in Polesworth, was fined after a 19-year-old employee suffered severe damage to his left hand when it was drawn into a roller press that had no guards on it.
Nuneaton Magistrates Court heard that the employee, Wade Moore, who had only been working for Mr Pullinger for three weeks, had his hand on top of cardboard as it was being drawn into the rollers. There was no emergency stop button on the machine but another operator realised what had happened and put the machine quickly into reverse mode.
Wade lost a third of his fifth finger, part of his ring finger and thumb, had multiple fractures and lacerations of his hand and needed a five hour operation to limit the damage. He still requires physiotherapy treatment and has had a further operation on his thumb.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the machine was at least 26-years-old and was in a poor state of repair. A prohibition notice was immediately issued after the incident and a guard was fitted to the machine days later.
Richard John Pullinger trading at Unit 5A Pooley Hall Farm Pooley Lane, Polesworth, was fined £13,000 and was ordered to pay £6,143 in costs after he pleaded guilty to a Contravention of Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 as effective measures had not been taken to prevent access to the dangerous parts of the roller press.
The family expressed their concern and said “people do not realise the consequences this accident has had on this family – to put guards on a machine could have saved us a lot of heart ache. It was such an easy thing to do and the accident could have been easily avoided with just a piece of plastic to be put in place “
HSE Inspector Richenda Dixon said: “This life changing incident could have been avoided if the owner of the business had fitted a simple inexpensive guard to stop a young man’s hand becoming trapped and passing through this roller press.”
Notes to Editors
- The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
- HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk