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Industry

Packaging firm fined after employee injury

VP Packaging was fined over £21,000, after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the incident in which an employee lost her finger and sustained substantial damage to her hand, could have been prevented.

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The firm manufactures air bubble bags and envelopes in the UK, with other production lines in Germany, Poland and the Netherlands

The employee at the Kettering site was cleaning a rotating roller in a production line that makes padded envelopes earlier this year. The cloth she was using was drawn into the rollers and subsequently, she suffered an amputation of her middle finger, as well as fracturing two other fingers and some degloving of the skin.

The investigation by HSE concluded that the firm had not adequately guarded the rotating rollers, preventing access to dangerous parts of the machinery. The firm pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £20,000 as well as costs of £1346.60 and a £170 victim surcharge.

HSE inspector Michelle Morrison expresses that the injury “could have been easily prevented, and the risk should have been identified.”

We have made significant improvements to our systems and processes since the incident and everything has been found to be up-to-date and state-of-the-art

She adds: ““Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures like suitable guards, to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.”

The company’s directors comment on the case: “It is a pity what has happened, and we are absolutely sorry about what happened to one of our long-standing employees.

“We have made significant improvements to our systems and processes since the incident and everything has been found to be up-to-date and state-of-the-art. We have a good feeling that we are prepared for the future and are sure that an incident like this will not happen again.”

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