Manufacturing firm fined over safety failings

The importance of effective work risk assessment procedures as part of firms’ health and safety policies cannot be over-estimated. Without the right workstation assessment methods and so on, staff members’ wellbeing and even lives can be placed at risk and companies can find themselves subject to long and costly legal proceedings.

One Cheshire firm that knows this only too well is based in Ellesmere Port and recently appeared at Chester Magistrates’ Court, where it received a fine of £6,000 and was ordered to pay £3,699 in costs.

It was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an incident in which an employee lost part of one of his fingers. The 55-year-old, who asked not to be named, was trying to remove debris from chains under a rotating table in the factory when the glove on his right hand became caught. He lost the tip of his index finger as a result.

The court heard that at the time of the accident, there were no guards under the table to prevent access to the chains while they were moving. However, a fence and gate have since been installed.

Commenting on the case, HSE inspector Martin Paren stated that the worker was injured because his employer failed to do its job and protect his safety.

He added: “It was able to install new safety fencing just two days after the worker lost part of his finger in machinery. If the fencing had been in place at the time of the incident, then his injuries could have been avoided.

“Manufacturing firms must make the safety of employees their top priority to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. Otherwise they risk finding themselves in court.”

Thankfully, it is now easy for firms to employ experts in work risk assessment procedures. As long as they engage in suitable workstation assessment practices, they can stay on the right side of the law and minimise the risk of worker injuries.

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