An employee almost lost his right leg when it was crushed in machinery at a recycling factory in Swinton.
Roydon Polythene (Exports) Ltd have since appeared in court and have been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Investigation into the firm found that workers at Junction Eco Park were being put in danger when they attempted to remove blockages from the system.
On 26 September Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the injured worker had been attempting to eliminate a blockage in a sorting machine for glass.
On 16 October 2014, the employee was raised more than four metres above the ground in a movable elevating work platform. This allowed him to climb onto a conveyor belt and clear the blockage. As he was trying to clear the jam, his leg was dragged into the machinery and became trapped.
While emergency services attempted to cut him free the employee remained trapped for two hours. Multiple operations were required to save his leg and almost a year after the terrible accident doctors still do not know if the 41 year old will ever regain full use of his leg again.
It was not a one off incident that led to the accident, and the court was told it was standard practice for workers to climb on the conveyor belt to unjam obstructions in the machinery. There was also nothing to stop workers falling off the conveyor belts, although this breach had not yet led to any serious injuries.
The recycling firm from Swinton, Roydon Polythene (Exports) Ltd, were fined £10 000 and ordered to pay £1 221 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to breaches to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations SI 1998/2306 and the Work at Height Regulations SI 2005/735.
The firm failed to prevent access to hazardous parts of machinery and also failed to put measures in place to stop workers falling from a height.
HSE Inspector, Jackie Worrall, felt the injury was avoidable and explained: “A worker has suffered severe injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life because his employer failed in its duty to ensure he stayed safe at work.
This wasn’t a one-off incident. Instead, workers were routinely expected to climb onto the conveyor belt to clear blockages from an unguarded part of the machine, putting their lives at risk. It was therefore almost inevitable that someone would be injured, either by becoming trapped in the machine or falling to the ground below.”