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Company Fined After Employee Suffers Burns In Work Accident

A company from Leek has been fined after a member of staff got both arms trapped in a machine after a work accident.

Marling Leek Limited-a manufacturer of webbing used in seatbelts-was fined £5,000 by the Health and Safety Executive after Stewart Wood, a dye machine operative, suffered severe burns when working on a night shift on August 2, 2011.

After webbing had become wrapped around the machine’s rollers, Mr Wood climbed onto the machine to free the material but his arm became trapped between the unguarded rollers.

Another employee came to help after he heard Mr Wood’s screams, but he did not know how to stop the machine. When he was eventually freed from the rollers he had sustained severe burns and skin damage.

Work Accident Caused By Inadequate Training

The 60-year-old spent two weeks in a specialist burns unit in Birmingham after the accident and has sustained permanent loss of sensation in the affected area. As a result of the injuries he was absent from work for a number of weeks, but has now returned to his previous position at the company.

The HSE investigation into the incident found that basic safety procedures were lacking at Marling Leek. Although Mr Wood had been employed by the company for 12 years, Stafford Magistrates’ Court was told how he had never received adequate training, written instructions or information on how to safely perform the regular task of removing wrap-arounds.

Marling Leek Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety etc Act 1974. As well as receiving a fine of £5,000, they were ordered to pay costs of £5,827.

Commenting on the incident, HSE inspector Lyn Spooner said: “Mr Wood was lucky not to have been more seriously injured or even killed. The rollers pulled both his arms in above his head and trapped him for what can have only been a terrifying number of minutes.

“There is no excuse for companies failing to discharge their health and safety duties, especially when these failings lead to someone being hurt. HSE will continue to take action against those who fail to protect their employees.”

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