Liverpool Crown Court heard a worker at Jiffy Packaging Company Ltd was reaching through an unguarded section in the frame of one of the machines to clean ink from a roller when the accident happened.
The rag he was using got caught in one of the motorised cogs, causing his hand to be pulled into the rotating cogs.
His left thumb was severed, requiring him to receive skin grafts in hospital and being unable to work for 15 weeks.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had partially guarded the rollers and cogs of the machine with an interlocked guard.
However, it failed to take adequate measures to prevent access to all dangerous parts of machinery.
The HSE also found the company’s risk assessment had been written nine years before the incident by an employee untrained in creating risk assessments.
The assessment did not identify risks related to unguarded machinery or provide any control measures.
Several HSE Improvement notices
The packaging firm had previously been served several HSE improvement notices which highlighted the company’s machinery guarding issues in 2013.
Jiffy Packaging Company Ltd was found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at work etc Act 1974. It was ordered to pay a fine of £70,000 and costs of £53,509.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Adam McMahon said the worker’s injuries could have been prevented if a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had been completed and the correct control measures implemented.
“The day after the accident the company carried out a new risk assessment of the machine guarded the area in which the employee reached through with a clear plastic screen,” said McMahon.
“The company followed this up with a written safe system of work relating to cleaning the rollers.’’
More information about machinery guarding can be found here.
Meanwhile, Food waste recycling firm Countrystyle Recycling has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £9,000 in damages after an employee was injured while repairing a shredding machine.