Newspaper group fined for guarding failure

Regional newspaper group Newsquest Media has been prosecuted after a Southampton worker was injured when his hand was caught in a rotating printer roller.

The 49-year-old employee suffered crush injuries to his thumb and middle finger as he attempted to remove a small piece of torn paper from the unguarded roller. He has since recovered and returned to work.

The incident, at Newsquest’s plant in Test Lane, Redbridge, Hampshire, on 6 February 2013, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which brought the prosecution for safety failings.

Southampton Magistrates’ Court today (16 May) heard the employee and colleagues had been having problems with paper breaking and wrapping itself around ink rollers.

He had cleared most of the paper off and then put the machine into an 8,000 rotations per hour cycle. However, he noticed a bit of paper still on the roller and tried to brush it off with a piece of cloth. As he did, the cloth was dragged into the nip of the ink roller, injuring his right hand.

HSE found the employee was able to access the dangerous moving parts because sections of the press machine had been removed when employees were clearing paper from the ink rollers. It was a regular practice of print room staff to deal with paper breaks in this way.

Newsquest Media (Southern) Ltd, registered at Weybridge, Surrey, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,560 in costs after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

After the case, HSE Inspector Guy Widdowson said:

“This was an easily preventable incident. If Newsquest had ensured its employees ran the press with the machine rollers not exposed, there would have been no injury. It was only down to luck that an incident had not happened before and also that this injury was not more serious.

“It is critical that companies make sure that effective guards are in place on machinery to protect their employees from dangerous moving parts. If there is a part of a machine that serves another purpose but is protecting staff from contact regardless, then it needs to be treated as a guard.”

For information on safe working with machinery, visit

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive 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.
  2. Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken… to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”


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