Keeping machinery in a safe and working order should be one of the primary objectives of companies that rely on using hi-tech tools and gadgets to carry out their everyday operations.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has commented on a case in which this did not seem to occur and it was subsequently forced to prosecute the company involved. CCL Label was fined £4,000 after an investigation into the injuries sustained by Derek Shield, 55, who required a skin graft to overcome the shattering of his thumb and finger.
He suffered when his hand was drawn into a printing press at a time when it was moving, leaving him not only requiring a skin graft, but also a pinned bandage for his finger and thumb.
Mr Shield had been cleaning a letter press printing machine at the time of the incident. After his hand was taken into the machine, it was clamped at a nip point and squashed between a drum and a roller.
HSE inspector Paul Newton said: "Mr Shield's injury could have been avoided if there had been an effective guard in place. In addition employees need training in how to clean machinery safely.
"Companies should ensure there are regular checks on machine guards and that employees are properly supervised to ensure unsafe work practices do not develop. Unguarded or poorly guarded machinery is the cause of many injuries in workplaces across the country."
Mr Newton added that the injuries sustained by Mr Shields could have been prevented had an effective guard been in place at the time of the incident. He also suggested that all employees need to be taught how to clean and maintain machinery in an effective and safe manner.
The case in question may serve as a useful reminder to other companies around the UK that they must also focus on safety. Failing to do so can harm employees and leave the firm in question facing the possibility of punishment.