Protective equipment specialist failed to protect worker

One of Europe’s leading manufacturers of personal protective equipment has been prosecuted and fined after a worker’s hand was crushed when it became trapped in an unsafe machine at their factory in Oxfordshire.

The 47-year-old employee, from Witney, had just started her shift on 11 January 2013 at the JSP Ltd factory in Minster Lovell. She was stirring the paint for a printer when the machine suddenly moved, striking her hand and trapping it.

The worker, who does not wish to be named, suffered a broken knuckle and serious nerve damage and was unable to work for several months. The nerve damage has resulted in a loss of dexterity in her right hand.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and prosecuted JSP Ltd for safety failings after finding a micro switch on the interlocking sliding door guard on the printing machine had failed.

Oxford Magistrates were told (30 April) that the firm had been using the machine for eight years without incident. However, the safety devices had not been checked or maintained during the whole of that time. Following the employee’s injury the machine was examined and found to be unsafe.

JSP Ltd, of Worsham Mill, Minster Lovell, Oxfordshire, was fined a total of £4,000 with £1,064 in costs after admitting two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to protect employees from dangerous moving parts of machinery.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Kelly Nichols said:

“This was a preventable incident. JSP Ltd had carried out a risk assessment in 2007 that identified maintenance checks were not being carried out on the printing machine, but they had failed to follow this through by taking action to manage that risk.

“As a result, the micro switches on the guards had not been checked at regular intervals. When the interlocked sliding door guard was opened, the micro switch should have cut the power to the dangerous moving parts allowing the operator to access the area safely, but it had failed and one of their employees unfortunately paid the price.

“Employers need to act on the findings of their own risk assessments and avoid complacency. They can’t afford to assume that machines, which have been running for some time, are going to remain safe without regular checks of safety-critical devices. These checks are vital so the workforce is protected and the business continues to function efficiently.”

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 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.”
  3. Regulation 11(3) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that all guards and protection devices provided are suitable for the purpose for which they are provided and be maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”

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