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Paper-milling company fined after employee’s head was trapped in a machine

A paper-milling company was fined after an employee had to have his face reconstructed after his head got trapped in a gap in a paper press machine.

16 March 2020

The employee was helping colleagues to remove paper from the machine by standing in the gap between the size press and the after-dryer section of the machine. After a fixed guard was opened, the drum began to move clockwise towards the worker, the opposite direction to what he was expecting. By the time he realised the drum was operating in reverse, it had turned and trapped his head between the spar and the base of the fixed guard. The employee endured a nine-hour operation in hospital for facial reconstruction.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had not provided a safe system of work for the removal of broken paper from the after-dryer section of the paper-making machine when the machinery was operated in reverse.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,191.70.

A representative of the HSE said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

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