A Port Talbot-based firm has been heavily fined by the Neath Magistrates’ Court after it pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches that led to serious injury to one of its workers.
Envases (UK) Ltd was fined and ordered to pay costs amounting cumulatively to almost £20,000 after one of its workers, Mrs Gaynor Gordon, was injured in an accident at work involving one of its machines on 10 July 2012.
On the day in question, Mrs Gordon, who was 47 at the time of the accident, was operating Envases (UK) Limited’s production line at its plant in Port Talbot. She noticed that a number of aerosol cans had fallen from the production line and were lying beneath packing machinery, so she bent down to pick them up. However, when she reached through one of the gaps in the packing machine and the strapping machine, one of the parts of the machine was lowered on to her head, trapping and pressurising it. Her colleagues heard her cries of pain and ran to free her but she suffered a fractured cheekbone and a fractured eye socket as a result of the accident. Not only did she sustain the physical injuries but she has now apparently serious psychological trauma as a result, not to mention damaged vision in one eye, and was unable to return to work for over a year.
The accident was reported to the Health and Safety Executive and an investigation was carried out into potential health and safety failings by Envases (UK) Limited. This investigation found that there had been a failure to implement sufficient guards to prevent the machinery from being a hazard and it therefore recommended that a prosecution be carried out against the company.
The case came to the Neath Magistrates’ Court on 11 December 2013. Envases (UK) Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 11(1) of the Provision of Work Equipment Regulations 1988 and was as a result fined £13,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,950.
It does not appear that Envases (UK) Limited nor its criminal defence solicitors have commented on the sentencing.
HSE Inspector Ms Clare Owen stated after the sentencing of the company: “Envases failed to guard this machine and the gap was large enough to allow Mrs Gordon access to dangerous moving machine parts. Sadly for Mrs Gordon this incident was both foreseeable and preventable. This prosecution should send a strong signal to companies to identify and act on the risks presented by production machinery and to review the measures they have in place regularly.”
Redmans Solicitors are employment law solicitors and can help injured workers claim personal injury
Please note that Redmans were not in any way associated with this case