Serious hand injury leads to packaging firm fine

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

HSE: 'The accident could have been avoided'
HSE: 'The accident could have been avoided'

Related tags Hand Finger Index finger

Integrated Packaging Ltd has been fined an undisclosed amount after a worker suffered serious injuries to his hand at the firm’s Gateshead factory in 2013.

The top of the worker’s right index finger was severed while he was training at the factory in Team Valley, Gateshead.

The 30-year-old, who did not want to be named, caught his hand between the feed belt and drive roller when preparing for a new run of cartons on a machine that cuts windows and film onto packaging, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Finger was caught

He removed some parts of the machine’s feed section while it was running and, as he tried to swap two belts, his finger was caught between a belt and a roller.

After two months off work and undergoing two operations, the man still struggled with pinching his finger and thumb together, the HSE said.

Integrated Packaging Ltd was prosecuted by the HSE at Gateshead Magistrates’ Court for serious safety failings after an investigation into the incident.

According to the HSE, the machine had poor guarding around the nip point, which is the gap between the roller and the belt, and the worker had a lack of adequate instruction, information, supervision and training.

HSE inspector Natalie Wright said: “The injured man had not worked with that size of carton before and had not been clearly instructed that the machinery should have been switched off before the task was carried out.”

‘Easily prevented'

“The incident could have been easily prevented if Integrated Packaging Ltd had suitable measures in place to ensure workers did not come into contact with the nip point on the machine.”

Gateshead Magistrates’ Court also heard the firm had been prosecuted in 2009, following a similar incident. HSE had also served an improvement notice on the company in 2007, relating to the training of operators and machines.

Wright added: “HSE has taken enforcement action against the company on previous occasions, yet it chose to ignore the lessons of the recent past and once again it put its workers at risk.

“The firm’s failures mean a worker suffered a severe injury, losing the tip of his finger.”

Andy Pybus, Integrated Packaging Ltd Gateshead plant manager, said: Obviously we are very sorry for the distress caused to our very valued employee by this incident.

"We have now changed our operating procedures and made minor changes to make sure this never happens again."

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1 comment

Common Sense?

Posted by Dr. Fortunato Romanesco,

"...while it was running." It's no wonder he didn't want his name mentioned.

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