Plymouth Magistrates’ Court has recently imposed a substantial fine upon a paper handling company (‘the company’) which had pleaded guilty to breaches of Health & Safety Regulations after an employee suffered serious hand injuries.

Amandeep Murria of Kangs Solicitors comments.

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Relevant Law | Kangs Solicitors Health and Safety Team

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (‘the Act’) provides:

‘2  General duties of employers to their employees.

(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of an employer’s duty under the preceding subsection, the matters to which that duty extends include in particular—

(a) the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health;

(b) arrangements for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances;

(c) the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;

(d) so far as is reasonably practicable as regards any place of work under the employer’s control, the maintenance of it in a condition that is safe and without risks to health and the provision and maintenance of means of access to and egress from it that are safe and without such risks;

(e) the provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.’

The Circumstances | Kangs Solicitors Health and Safety Team

At the time of this unfortunate accident, which resulted in the employee suffering crushed fingers:

  • the employee was working on a machine which punched holes into cards so that they could be bound together;
  • the machine was activated by pressing a foot-pedal;
  • the employee was adjusting the settings, placed fingers between the plates and, whilst doing so, inadvertently pressed the foot-pedal;
  • the plates moved and crushed the employee’s fingers.

The Health & Safety Executive conducted an investigation and concluded that:

  • the company had failed to provide adequate training and the supervision was sub-standard;
  • there was no interlocking switch attached to the guard preventing the machine being used when the guard was removed;
  • adequate protection was not supplied, which would have prevented accidental activation.

The Hearing | Kangs Health and Safety Solicitors

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2 (1) of the Act and was:

  • fined £89,600.00    
  • ordered to pay Prosecution Costs of £4,213.70.          

An Inspector from the Health & Safety Executive, was quoted as saying:

“This incident was foreseeable and preventable. Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.”

How Can We Help?| Kangs Safety At Work Solicitors

Kangs Solicitors has a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with all matters of health and safety law.

Our specialist solicitors are able to provide advice and assistance throughout the entire criminal process, from the initial intervention by the Health and Safety Executive through to enforcement, interview under caution and ultimately the defence of any ensuing criminal prosecution.

Who Can I Contact For Help? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Solicitors

Please feel free to contact our team through any of the solicitors named below who will be happy to provide you with some initial advice and assistance.

Hamraj Kang
hkang@kangssolicitors.co.uk
07976 258171 | 020 7936 6396 | 0121 449 9888

John Veale
jveale@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396 

Amandeep Murria
amurria@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396