Skin torn from worker's hand on printing press at Howard Hunt in Dartford, court told
A worker had the skin torn from his hand on a printing press at a Dartford company where vital safety guards had been removed, a court heard.
The printer, then aged 30, also fractured a finger in the incident at Howard Hunt (City) Limited on April 24, 2009.
Now the Crossways business park firm - part of the Howard Hunt Group, which produces leaflets, magazine inserts, and direct mailing products - has been fined £11,000after a Health and Safety Executive investigation identified safety failings.
North Kent Magistrates Court, Dartford
Dartford magistrates heard the injured worker was using a printer's knife when filling an ink reservoir that fed rollers transporting ink to printing plates.
Guards should have been in place to prevent access to the dangerous parts of the roller system while the press was running, but these had been removed four days earlier for cleaning and had not been replaced, the court heard.
The knife stuck as he was filling the ink reservoir and his right hand was pulled between two rotating rollers and "de-gloved", with the skin ripped away from the back of his hand.
He managed to halt the machine using an emergency stop button before pulling himself free and alerting colleagues.
He was hospitalised for five days and later required a skin graft.
He then had to wear a special pressure glove for more than a year, which interfered with his normal life and caused additional irritation.
The man has now been left with permanent scarring.
Health and Safety Executive logo
HSE established seven other people had also operated the machine with the protective safety guards removed. All were therefore placed at unnecessary risk, it said.
The court was told a proper risk assessment would have identified that cleaning should only have taken place when the press was turned off - and routine checks should have established necessary guards were in place before it was switched on.
Magistrates also heard training provision was inadequate, and that the injured worker had received no training or instruction on the safety features of the press.
Howard Hunt (City) Limited, registered to Crown House, Loughton, Essex, was fined a total of £11,000 and ordered to pay £4,399 in costs after pleading guilty to two separate breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and a single breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Gordon Chase said: "The painful injury the worker sustained could have been avoided had the guards been in place when the press was running.
"A proper risk assessment would have identified the requirement of a safe system of work, and the necessity of proper training on how to safely use the machine.
"Incidents of this kind occur all too often in the printing industry, and the onus is on companies like Howard Hunt to take adequate steps to control risks and protect their workforce."
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