Paper-milling company fined after employee’s head was trapped in a machine

A paper-milling company has been fined after an employee suffered life changing injuries resulting in a nine-hour operation in hospital for facial reconstruction.

North Somerset Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 16 March 2017, an employee of De La Rue International Limited was helping colleagues to remove paper from the machine by standing in the gap between the size press and the after-dryer section of the machine in Bathford Paper Mill in Bathford, Bath. After a fixed guard was opened, the employee expected the spar drum to come towards him (clockwise), however, by the time he realised the cylinder was turning in the opposite direction (anti-clockwise), the spar drum had turned and his head became trapped between a spar and the base of the fixed guard.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that De La Rue International Limited had not provided a safe system of work for the removal of broken paper from the after-dryer section of the paper-making machine when the machinery was operated in reverse.

De La Rue International Limited of Bathford, Bath pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,191.70.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Tania Nickson said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk
  4. Further information about safe techniques can be found at: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg279.htm

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