Firm prosecuted after two men injured at work on same machine

A firm that manufactures cable had been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after two men were injured at work in two separate incidents involving the same machine.

One of the men has lost almost all the use of his left arm, narrowly avoiding needing to have it amputated, when it was dragged in by two rollers. The other man suffered a deep cut to his left index finger when he caught it on a blade in the machine.

Their employer, TCB Arrow Ltd was prosecuted for serious safety failings.

Employees had not received adequate training, the machine was poorly maintained, safety features were missing or they were inadequate, and a safe system of work was not in place.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the incidents occurred at the firms Leigh factory. The first accident at work happened in October 2011. The 24 year old man was cleaning the blade on the machine used to mould rubber together when he accidentally leant on the operating pedal causing his finger to become trapped.

The Court was told that there should have been a guard on the pedal to prevent the machine being started by accident.

The second incident occurred less than one month later in November 2011. The 23 year old man was cleaning the rollers on the same machine when his left arm became trapped.

The man hit the stop bar, but the machine took several seconds to stop which dragged his arm into the rollers and raised his entire body off the floor. It took the emergency services almost an hour to free him and he was in hospital for over a month.

Doctors thought his arm would have to be amputated, but they eventually stemmed the bleeding after two days, by which time the man had received 25 units of blood.

The man needed extensive operating, including 12 different operations for skin grafts, he has lost 90% of the use of his arm, and cannot expose his arm to direct sunlight.

The Court heard that the machine’s rollers rotated three quarters of the way around after the stop bar was pressed before they came to a halt. This is nearly five times more than the legal maximum of 57 degrees.

The Court was also told that it should not have been possible for employees to stand on the concrete ledge under the machine as it put them in the position where they were at risk of being trapped by rollers.

Vicki Wright, expert personal injury lawyer at Swain & Co says, “Two men have been injured in a month because the firm failed to meet minimum safety requirements.”

“The first incident should have acted as a warning to the firm, but instead another man was more seriously injured as a result of the firm failing to improve safety.”

Vicki adds, “This 23 year old man has lost almost all the use of his arm; injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life.”