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    FEMALE WORKER SCALPED AND BADLY INJURED

    Wood product manufacturer fined £466,000 over rotating shaft danger

    A wood product manufacturer and a company director have been fined after a female worker was dragged into a rotating drive shaft at premises in St Helens in June 2016.

    Liverpool Magistrates Court heard how she was working on a production line making parts for staircases when her hair became entangled on a rotating drive shaft.

    This resulted in the loss of her full scalp, ears and one of her thumbs. She suffered severe physical and mental trauma and has undergone numerous reconstructive operations and has been unable to return to work since the incident.

    HSE investigators found the company failed to adequately guard the production line, allowing worker access to dangerous parts of machinery (including conveyors and drive shafts) during both operation and cleaning.

    Director aware of dangerous systems of work

    Example: Typical machinery hazards and guards

    A subsequent HSE visit in April 2018 found the company had changed the layout of the production line leaving dangerous parts (including a shaft identical to the one causing the injury) unguarded. HSE issued enforcement notices to address these risks.

    Further investigation showed that workers were regularly accessing the strapping section whilst the machinery was running and that the Production Director was aware of this practice.

    • Cheshire Mouldings and Woodturning Limited – of Normans Road, Sutton, St Helens pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £466,666 and ordered to pay costs of £7,475.90 and a victim surcharge of £170.
    • Paul Carney – of Woolston, Warrington pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £10,800, ordered to pay £43,241 in costs and £170 victim surcharge.

    After the hearing HSE Principal Inspector Helen Jones said:

    “This incident, which was easily preventable, has had a devastating impact on the victim involved and those close to her. The company failed to prevent employees accessing dangerous moving parts of machinery.

    Had they ensured the machine was adequately guarded employees would not have been able to access moving parts and this tragic accident would have been avoided”

     

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