Manufacturing firm fined £120,000 after employee fatally crushed

On 10th April 2018, Mr Brett Dolby was operating the machine, designed to cut a large roll of adhesive material into narrower rolls, when he was drawn into an in-running nip between a rotating roller and the adhesive material. Mr Dolby’s colleagues found him trapped in the machine at the factory in Dunstable, having suffered fatal crush injuries.

The HSE investigation found that Mr Dolby was required to work close to an unguarded in-running nip, whilst the rewind slitting machine was in operation, which presented a hazard due to rotating parts. The risk assessment for the machine was inadequate because it failed to identify the in-running nips and other hazards on the machine. Therefore, machine operators were provided with inadequate information and training relating to the risks associated with this operation; and employees were placed at severe risk of injury.

The company previously received advice in 2012 from both HSE and an external consultant in relation to the guarding of machinery on site, but had failed to take action to ensure the necessary guarding of the rewind slitting machine, prior to the incident in April 2018.

Scapa UK Limited of Ashton Under Lyne, Manchester, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £15,192.68.

After the hearing HSE inspector Emma Page said, “This tragic incident could easily have been prevented if the company had properly assessed and applied effective control measures to minimise the risks from dangerous parts of the machinery. The dangers associated with in-running nips are well known, and a wealth of advice and guidance is freely available from HSE and other organisations. Employers should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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