A Swinton-based recycling company has been £10,000 after one of its employees almost lost a leg after it became trapped in a machine at the company’s facility. The man does not yet know if he will ever regain use of the limb almost a year after the incident occurred.
Roydon Polythene (Exports) Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found workers at the plant at Junction Eco Park were routinely put at risk when they tried to remove blockages. The injured man had been trying to clear a jam in a glass sorting machine. It was reported in the hearing that the man had been lifted in a mobile elevating work platform, similar in appearance to a cherry picker, before climbing out of the basket and onto a conveyor belt, more than 4m above the ground. As he tried to clear the blockage, his right leg was drawn into the machinery where it remained trapped for 2 hours while emergency services tried to free him.
In addition to the £10,000 fine, Roydon Polythene (Exports) Ltd was ordered to pay £1,221 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
HSE Inspector Jackie Worrall said: “A worker has suffered severe injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life because his employer failed in its duty to ensure he stayed safe at work.
“This wasn’t a one-off incident. Instead, workers were routinely expected to climb onto the conveyor belt to clear blockages from an unguarded part of the machine, putting their lives at risk. It was therefore almost inevitable that someone would be injured, either by becoming trapped in the machine or falling to the ground below.
“Roydon Polythene should have carried out a proper assessment of the risks facing its employees, and taken action to put safety measures in place. If it had then the worker’s injuries could have been avoided.”