A Leigh cardboard box manufacturer has appeared in court after one of its employees almost lost his right arm when it became trapped in a machine.

The 26-year-old from Leigh, who has asked not to be named, was trying to retrieve a piece of card to clear a blockage when his arm was dragged under a roller, causing severe crush injuries.

His employer, Leighton Packaging Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at the factory, at Leigh Commerce Park on Greenfold Way, on October 7 last year.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court was told yesterday that doctors feared the employee could have lost his arm due to the extent of his injuries. He still has difficulty using his arm, and the injury is likely to affect him for the rest of his life.

A HSE investigation found the guards on the machine were inadequate and that employees regularly removed blockages without power first being cut.

The company failed to have a suitable system of work in place for the removal of blockages, and there was little supervision of how workers dealt with jams.

Leighton Packaging admitted breaching the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. It was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £2,717 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Mike Lisle said: “This is an incident that could and should have been avoided, but instead one of Leighton Packaging’s employees has suffered severe injuries that are likely to affect him for the rest of his life.

“Workers had to regularly deal with cardboard becoming jammed in the machine, but the company didn’t have a suitable system of work in place for removing blockages.

“The guards on the machine were also inadequate, and it shouldn’t have been possible for employees to reach under the rollers without the power being isolated.

“Manufacturing firms must ensure machines are properly guarded and that safety systems are in place to prevent incidents like this from happening in future.”

One in every five workplace deaths in Great British occurs in the manufacturing sector, despite only ten percent of the population working in the industry. Information on how to prevent deaths and injuries is available at www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing.