Stafford firm in court after worker’s arm caught in machine

A ceiling company has been fined for serious safety breaches after a worker required skin grafts on his arm which had been caught in machinery.

The 61-year-old man from Stafford was removing hardened-on glue from the lower roller spindle on a laminator machine when his left arm was caught in the drive mechanism at CEP Ceiling Ltd’s premises in Stafford on 21 January 2013.

His forearm was caught in the intermeshing metal gears, which chewed up a large chunk of tissue. He needed a skin graft to help it heal.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the covers protecting the drive mechanism had been removed to give easier access to the spindle.

Stafford Magistrates’ Court heard today that the company had not carried out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. In addition, no safe system of work was in place, and insufficient monitoring of employees took place to identify unsafe practices.

CEP Ceilings Ltd of Verulam Road, Stafford, was fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £1,194 in costs after pleading guilty to breaches of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Wayne Owen said:

“Mr Turney suffered a painful injury as a result of CEP Ceilings Ltd failing to effectively assess the risk to employees from using and cleaning the machine and then prescribe a system of work which kept employees safe.

“Workers were left to determine their own methods of cleaning machinery and these unsafe methods had existed for many years.

“Safe systems of work, information, instruction and training are required to control the risks during both production and maintenance activities. A robust system to monitor employees also needs to be in place to detect any poor practices.”

For further information on the safe use of machinery, visit

Notes to editors

  1. 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.”
  2. Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states: “Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work.”

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