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Bradford worker injured after just weeks in job

A Bradford textile firm has been sentenced for safety failures after a worker was left with a long-term hand injury after only a month in the job.

The 30 year-old employee joined Whitaker Fibres Ltd., trading as Howarth Scouring Company, in March 2011 as a wool sorter, a job that did not involve any working with machinery.

The following month, on 23 April, he was told to clean debris from the trays of a machine that untangles woollen fibres - despite the fact he had no training or experience for handling machines at the factory.

As he attempted to carry out the task, his hand was dragged into the unguarded machine and became stuck. His glove was shredded and he started to lose feeling in his hand, before eventually managing to pull it free.

The worker's hand was badly cut leaving him with scarring from the tip of his right index finger to mid-forearm; tendon, nerve and vein damage resulting in the loss of movement to two fingers; and loss of webbing between two fingers.

Bradford Magistrates' Court heard, on 16 May, that the incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and a prosecution brought against Whitaker Fibres Ltd. for a serious breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act.

Whitaker Fibres Ltd. of Cashmere Works, Birksland Street, Bradford, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,897.35 in costs.

The court had been told that the company had a previous conviction at Bradford Magistrates' Court in February 2008 for a breach of the same Act following an incident to an employee while cleaning machinery.


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