A leading workwear company has been fined £400,000 after an employee had the skin ripped off the palm of her left hand.
Sharon Chaplin, 51, was working an evening shift for Johnsons Textile Services Limited at the company’s site in Burbage, Hinckley when the incident happened, on 16 December 2021.
The mother of two, from Barwell in Leicestershire, was trying to manually clean a sensor to initiate movement of a conveyor belt, but as she did so, her left hand was drawn into a gap where two conveyor belts meet, causing the skin to be ripped off the palm of her left hand.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Johnsons Textile Services Limited had inadequately guarded machinery, did not have a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for the machinery that caused the injury and inadequate health and safety management systems in place.
Johnsons Textile Services Limited, of Logix Road, Burbage, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).
The company was fined £400,000 and was ordered to pay £5,919.63 costs at a hearing at Leicester Magistrates Court on 12 July 2023.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Nicholas Moreby said “This injury was easily preventable by applying known standards of machinery guarding and the risk should have been identified. Employers should make sure they properly assess risk and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.
“The fine imposed on them should underline to all employers that the courts, and HSE, take a failure to follow the regulations extremely seriously.
“We will not hesitate to take action against companies which do not do all that they should to keep people safe.”