Abaris Holdings Ltd in court over employee’s injuries after being dragged into a machine.

A fabric printing firm in Lancaster has appeared in court after an employee suffered injuries to his hand when it was dragged between two rollers running at full speed.

Abaris Holdings Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at the Standfast & Barracks factory on Caton Road on 12 February 2010.

Lancaster Magistrates’ Court heard today (9 November) that the 56-year-old worker from Lancaster, who has asked not to be named, had been trying to remove a small piece of material from one of the rollers using a plastic tool while the machine was running.

As he turned away, his right hand came into contact with the rollers and his hand and arm were dragged into the machine.

He was able to pull the emergency stop cord but the machine had to be dismantled in order to free him. He suffered a fractured thumb and hand, a swollen elbow and needed four stitches to his thumb.

A HSE investigation found there were no guards or other protective devices to prevent workers gaining access to the rollers while the machine was operating.

Abaris Holdings Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company, of Oxford Road in Denham, Buckinghamshire, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,940.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Matthew Tinsley said:

“It should simply not have been possible to reach the rollers while the machine was still operating at full speed.

“Guards to prevent access or a light beam that automatically stopped the machine when employees crossed it should have been put in place to prevent this worker’s injury.

“Sadly, incidents like this are still all too common in the manufacturing industry. Employers have a legal duty to make sure machinery is properly guarded to protect their workers.”

More information on improving safety in the manufacturing industry is available at www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing.

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