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Gateshead Firm Fined After Serious Injury

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Gateshead Firm Fined After Serious Injury

Health and safety in the workplace is of paramount importance in any organisation, and the various guidelines and legislations that govern workplaces up and down the country must be adhered to at all times.

When these rules are not complied with, the consequences can be severe for individuals and businesses alike, as a packaging company in Gateshead found out.

The man in question was working as a trainee at Integrated Packaging Ltd in Team Valley when he suffered the injury. He was preparing to use a machine that cuts windows and film onto packaging, where a new run of cartons was about to be used. The process required him to swap two of the feed belts, and in doing so, his finger was caught between the belt and the roller. He lost the top of his index finger and had to undergo extensive surgery and rehabilitation, causing him to miss two months of work. He still has trouble making pinching motions with his thumb and forefinger.

During a hearing at Gateshead Magistrates’ Court, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Integrated Packaging Ltd for ‘serious safety failings’ – poor guarding around the nip point (the gap between roller and belt), as well as a ‘lack of adequate instruction, information, supervision and training’. The man had not worked with cartons of that size before, meaning that he was totally unfamiliar with the necessary protocols for effective and safe use of the machinery.

The company had also been prosecuted in 2009, again for not placing a guard on the nip point of a similar piece of equipment. This followed the serving of an Improvement Notice by the HSE on the company in 2007 in regard to the inadequate level of training that their operators received.

As a result of this latest incident, Integrated Packaging pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and were given a fine of £10,000 as well as being ordered to pay costs of £941.35. HSE inspector Natalie Wright stated that the incident “could have been easily prevented” if the correct measures had been put in place by the company. The trainee was unaware that the machine should have been switched off before he attempted to swap the belts over, a practice which would have eliminated the possibility of this accident. The accident emphasises just how important it is that all employees undergo and pass the correct training courses, allowing them to operate relevant machinery safely and correctly.

At Health and Safety Training Ltd, we have been providing comprehensive health and safety training programmes since starting life in 2003. Serving customers across the North of England, either visiting you on site or providing the courses at our excellent training facility in Newcastle upon Tyne. If you would like to know more about the training we offer, please get in touch with us today and we will be happy to help.

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