Kearsley firm fined after worker's leg crushed by rollers
A FABRIC firm in Kearsley has been ordered to pay £18,000 after an employee's leg was crushed by a large rolling machine.
The 25-year-old, who has asked not to be named, had been cleaning the inside of a ten-metre-high tower at AMR Textiles Ltd when the machine started unexpectedly.
His left leg was pulled in by the rollers he was standing on, breaking bones in his left foot and ankle.
AMR was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation into the incident at the factory on the Europa Park Trading Estate in Stoneclough on June 21, 2012.
Trafford Magistrates Court heard the worker, who lives in Middleton, had climbed into the tower to remove loose strands of fibre so they did not mix with a new type of fibre that needed to be fed into the machine.
A colleague inserted an override key to test another part of the equipment but the rollers the worker was standing on also started rotating, pulling in his left leg up to the knee.
The HSE investigation found the access hatch to the tower had been fitted with an interlock to prevent the rollers moving when the hatch was open.
However, the company had failed to carry out regular checks on the interlock and it was not working at the time of the incident.
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In 2010, AMR Textiles had also given each supervisor an override key after making changes to the machine which allowed them to override the guards for maintenance or cleaning.
The court was told this breached health and safety guidelines as it should not have been possible for workers to climb into a dangerous part of the machine while it could still operate.
After the incident, the company took away the override keys from the supervisors and the fibre tower has also now been replaced with one preventing access inside.
The firm, in Springfield Road in Kearsley, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £10,103 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breaching health and safety laws.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector David Norton said: “The company put employees at risk by giving each of their supervisors an override key.
"This meant the safety guards were regularly bypassed for routine tasks.
“The worker should never have been able to climb into the tower while the machine could still be operated, and the changes the company has made since show work to remove the loose fibre could have been carried out safely.
“It is vital manufacturers think carefully about the potential consequences of making changes to machines or safety procedures, as they risk putting employees' lives in danger.”
The latest figures show 20 people were killed while working in the manufacturing industry in Great Britain in 2012/13.
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