Companies across the UK have been warned that they will be prosecuted and punished if they fail to adhere to the relevant safety regulations and protect their staff from injuries and accidents, as a laundry firm became the latest to be hit by a penalty.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched legal proceedings against Exclusive Cleaners, which is based in Southend, after Badrul Islam, 23, lost two fingers in an accident there in August last year. He also suffered crush and burn injuries after his arm was pulled inside an industrial ironing machine.
Mr Islam had been cleaning a heated steel roller on the machine when disaster struck and his limb was dragged into the device. It was then pinned against the roller, at which point he experienced his injuries.
Doctors provided medical treatment to the worker but his problems were too severe and two of his fingers had to be amputated.
HSE inspector Glyn Davies explained that the incident had been completely avoidable and warned firms they must consider the implications of poor safety.
"None of these simple and commonplace safety measures were evident, so he suffered for no good reason. What is more, the company then failed to fulfil its legal obligation to report the incident to HSE," he stated.
"Employers need to understand that serious breaches of health and safety law are likely to result in similarly serious outcomes."
In the case of Exclusive Cleaners, the HSE discovered that it was guilty of several safety breaches that resulted in Mr Islam's accident. For instance, a fixed guard had been removed from the machine, despite it running at about 80 degrees C.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 as well as Regulation 3(1) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.
It was hit with a fine of £5,000 and told it must also pay costs of the same amount.