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Fine for West Yorkshire firm after printer crushed to death

The platen press involved in the incident after being modified by Bezier to improve the safety features of the machineA retail marketing company has been ordered to pay £118,500 in fines and costs for serious safety failings after a worker at its Wakefield printing site was crushed to death.

Bezier Ltd., which employs some 700 people across nine UK sites, failed to heed warnings that could have saved the life of 49-year-old William Aveyard.

Mr Aveyard, of Shipley, Bradford, was trapped in a hand-fed press at the print site in Balne Lane, Wakefield, on 8 May 2008 and pronounced dead at the scene.

Leeds Crown Court heard (15 May) he was using the press to cut out signs printed on corrugated card. It is thought he had climbed onto a moveable platen to remove waste following a misfeed. Mr Aveyard received fatal injuries when the platen activated crushing him against the fixed press.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Bezier failed to act on the knowledge they had of a fatal incident at a separate company a year earlier when a worker died after being crushed between the fixed and moveable parts of a similar hand-fed platen press.

Although Mr. Aveyard was experienced in the print industry, Bezier had failed to ensure he was adequately trained to use the machine. In addition there was no written safe system of work for the machine operators to access the press and deal with misfeeds.

Bezier Ltd., a specialist in point-of-sale marketing, of Silkwood Park, Wakefield, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £80,000 with £38,501.83 in costs.


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