Companies have been given a reminder of the importance of looking after their staff members at all times by a case in which an organisation has been fined £10,000 after an employee suffered hand injuries.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Abaris Holdings after investigating the case of an unnamed man whose hand was dragged between two rollers. The machinery was found to be running at full speed at the time of the incident.
It occurred at the company's Stanford & Barracks factory in February 2010 and led to the 56-year-old employee from Lancaster being harmed. He had been trying to take a small piece of material out of one of the rollers when disaster struck.
His right hand came into contact with one of the rollers and his hand and arm were pulled into the machine. Although he responded quickly and was able to activate the emergency stop cord, colleagues had to dismantle the machine so that they could free him, before finding he had suffered a fractured thumb and hand.
Once the HSE became involved, it discovered that no guards or protective tools were in place in order to ensure workers were not able to access the machine and its turning rollers while they were in use.
HSE inspector Matthew Tinsley said: "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."
He added that it should not have been possible for employees to reach the rollers while the machine was running.
Other firms could now learn from the case and ensure they have the right protective measures in place, including access to the very best safety equipment, so that their staff do not suffer similar injuries.