THE owners of a packaging manufacturer have been fined after they failed to install safety guards.

Company directors Anthony Smith and Yvonne Barrett, of Rayden Crescent, Daisy Hill, were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failing to install guards on machines used to produce packaging for fast-food outlets.

Trafford magistrates heard no guards were provided to prevent workers’ hands being pulled in by the rotating machinery.

HSE issued First Packaging Ltd with an Improvement Notice (IN) in January, 2008, ordering guards to be installed at Wadsworth Industrial Estate in Bolton.

The company was given a six-month extension to comply, but when it was revisited in August 2008, the guards had not been installed. HSE inspectors were told the factory would be closing, so no further action was taken.

Early last year, HSE found out First Packaging moved to the West Industrial Estate, Westhoughton, and was still using the same unguarded machines. It issued two Prohibition Notices stopping work immediately and another four INs. Later that year, First Packaging stopped trading and Anthony Smith set up a new company, First Packaging North West Ltd, at Pilot Works, Bolton.

HSE again found Mr Smith had not had guards fitted and issued five INs in February this year.

Mr Smith and Mrs Barrett pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by not preventing workers being put at risk at Westhoughton, and failing to comply with the IN issued at Wadsworth.

Mr Smith also admitted failing to ensure the safety of workers at the Pilot Works site. He was fined £705 and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs. Mrs Barrett was fined £360 with £1,500 costs.

HSE Inspector Alex Farnhill said: “It’s only luck that none of Mr Smith and Mrs Barrett’s employees were injured in this case.

“It beggars belief they chose to put workers at risk of serious injury after enforcement notices had been served, deciding to put profit over the safety of their employees.”