Paper company in court after worker crushed by reel of paper

A Hertfordshire-based company has been fined after a worker suffered multiple injuries when he was struck by a 3.2 tonne reel of paper at its premises in Essex.

The 45 year-old worker, from Peckham, was helping to load the reel onto a container at Aspenlink’s premises on the Childerditch Industrial Estate, Brentwood, on 25 September 2013.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard today (Jan 15 2015) the man, who was in the container, was hit by the reel after it was released by a forklift truck, trapping him between the reel and the bulkhead of the container.

He sustained a double fracture to his pelvis, as well as internal injuries, remaining in hospital for almost a month. He has had to undergo a series of operations, and has only recently returned to work.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which found the company had failed to act on advice from its own safety consultants for three consecutive years from 2010. Aspenlink was advised of the need to carry out a proper risk assessment and introduce a safe system of work for loading paper reels.

Aspenlink Ltd, of Park Street, St Albans, was fined £ 13,500 and ordered to pay £1,200 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Keith Waller said:

“This was an entirely avoidable incident. The dangers associated with paper reels, in particular the risks associated with their loading and unloading, are well-known in the industry and entirely foreseeable.

“Aspenlink was first made aware of the numerous shortcomings in its management of health and safety by its own health and safety consultant in 2010 – some three years before the incident – but it failed to act on this advice.

“The company should have carried out proper assessment of the risks facing workers. Instead, it waited for an employee to be seriously injured before taking any action.”

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. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
  3. Further HSE news releases are available at

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