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Nottinghamshire manufacturing company fined for worker's hand and arm injuries

Amber Composites Ltd. has been fined after a worker suffered severe hand and arm injuries.

A 52-year-old production operative from Heanor, Derbyshire, suffered fractures in two fingers, a twisted knuckle and burns to his forearms after his hands became trapped in a pre-preg machine, a large piece of equipment containing heated rollers.

The incident happened at Amber Composite's Langley Mill factory on 28 May 2010 when the worker was cleaning the machine as it was still running. One of the rubber gloves he was wearing to carry out the cleaning became caught in the rollers which were heated to around 40 degrees Celsius. His hand was dragged in to the machine and when he tried to free himself, his other hand also became trapped.

A colleague saw what was happening and stopped the machine. The fire service was called and firefighters took around an hour to free the man.

He spent a week in hospital having skin grafts and stitches to both forearms and then underwent physiotherapy and twice-weekly hospital visits due to the loss of grip in his hands. He was off work for five months.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found there was no guarding to prevent access to the moving rollers and the company had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the cleaning of the machine. There was also evidence that the cleaning regularly took place with the rollers still running.

The company, of Station Road, Langley Mill, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court fined the company £14,000 and ordered it to pay costs of £3,603.

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