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Manchester plastic bag firm prosecuted over worker's finger loss

A factory worker in Greater Manchester lost two fingers in a machine used to punch handles in plastic bags, a court has heard.

Arrow Flexible Packaging Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the incident at the plant on Clarence Street in Golborne.

Trafford Magistrates' Court in Sale, heard the 53-year-old from Golborne was replacing the rubber insert under a cutting tool on 23 November 2010 when the machine started operating.

The tool came down on her left hand and, as a result, she lost her entire index finger and her middle finger to below the second knuckle. Nearly a year later and Mrs Schoelzel has been unable to return to work.

The HSE investigation found suitable guards were not in place to prevent workers gaining access to the cutting tool while the machine was operating, and that it was common practice for employees to change the rubber on the tool without the power to the machine being cut.

Arrow Flexible Packaging Ltd. pleaded guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, by failing to prevent access to dangerous machine parts. The company was fined £3,500 and was ordered to pay £1,000 in costs on 28 October 2011.

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