Health and Safety News

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Worker suffers severe burns at Staffordshire firm

A Leek company that makes webbing for seatbelts and harnesses has been fined after an employee trapped both arms in a machine and suffered severe burns.

Stewart Wood, a dye machine operative at Marling Leek Limited, was working a night shift on August 2 last year when webbing became wrapped around the machine's rollers.

He climbed onto the machine without isolating it to try to unravel the webbing and his left arm was drawn in between the unguarded rollers. He tried to push the top roller upwards to open a gap but his right arm was drawn in as well.

A colleague outside heard Mr. Wood scream but did not know how to stop the machine so ran to get another employee. By the time he was freed he had suffered severe burns and skin damage.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Marling Leek had failed to implement a safe system of work for the job Mr. Wood was doing and had exposed employees to risks over several years.

Stafford Magistrates' Court was told that despite Mr. Wood having worked at the company for 12 years he had never received adequate information, training or written instructions on how to carry out the common task of removing wrap-arounds safely.

HSE served two Improvement Notices after the incident. The first required Marling Leek to carry out a thorough risk assessment to include dealing with wrap-arounds and working at height.

A second, not connected to the incident, concerned the electrics in the powder dye room, as they were found not to be waterproof, despite being in a wet environment.

Marling Leek Limited, of Marling Mills, Leek, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £5,827.


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