Monday 22 April 2013

Overridden interlocks cost company £116,000

Staples Disposables Ltd, a Lincolnshire firm which makes disposable paper products has been ordered to pay more than £116,000 in fines and costs after three workers suffered hand injuries using unguarded machines.

Incident 1 26th July 2011
Bruno Jorge had to have his left thumb amputated after getting it crushed in unguarded machinery on a production line.
Mr Jorge was operating a new production line. He accessed the machine to clear a blockage, which was normal practice, but his hand was drawn into the rollers. As well as crushing his thumb, he also fractured his palm.  
Manufacturers had overiddent interlocks on the enclosures during commissioning. Staples management knew about this but did nothing to reinstate the interlocks.

Incident 2 25th August 2011
An agency worker cut her finger on the blade of a napkin folding machine. This was due to an interlock having been removed.

Incident 3
An employee lost all four fingers of his right hand after it was caught between unguarded rollers. It was normal practice to lock operators within an enclosure designed to keep them away from the dangerous parts of a toilet roll manufacturing line. Supervisors and management had failed to identify and stop this highly dangerous practice.

At the court case on 19th April 2013, Staples was fined a total of £116,380 (inc.costs).
The HSE inspector said:  "Staples Disposables Ltd had a poor health and safety management system and failed to suitably supervise factory operations. The company was well aware that machines should have interlocked guards in place to prevent people accessing dangerous moving parts of the machinery, yet it continued to put workers at risk over a prolonged period. Injury was inevitable."

Source: HSE HSE/M/105/13

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