Accident at work sees a man’s arm crushed in machine

A Staffordshire powder coatings company has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an accident at work saw a man’s arm get crushed in machinery.

Thermaset Ltd manufactures and supplies powder coating paint from their site in Tamworth. To manufacture the paint, a hot and thick product is passed through an extruder machine, flattened by rollers and allowed to harden along a conveyor. It is then broken up into small pieces and granulated into a powder.

Mark Capewell, 21, was nearing the end of his shift at the factory when he was asked to clear product that had become stuck on the machine’s rollers.

He was given a hand held scraper but it failed to remove the product, so he reached into the machine to grab it with his hands. But, the product was hot and wet, so it stuck to his glove and the rollers pulled his arm in.

Mr Capewell suffered severe crush injuries and required intensive physiotherapy.

He returned to work for a short period, but was signed off again as he was suffering from pain in his arm and headaches. He continues to take painkillers.

The HSE investigation found that the blockages on the extruder machines were a regular occurrence, yet there was no documented safe system of work for the workers to follow when clearing them.

Although workers were provided a small hand scraper to free product from the rollers, different workers operated different, preferred methods of clearing the blockages.

The HSE investigation also found that Mr Capewell had only been working in the extruder shop for six months before the accident at work occurred. He was placed with an experienced member of staff to shadow and learn the process, however he did not receive any formal training, information or instruction.

Vicki Wright, expert personal injury solicitor at Swain & Co says, “It appears that the product frequently stuck to the rollers and yet Thermaset Ltd did not have a written procedure in place for dealing with this common problem.”

“None of the employees had seen the basic risk assessment created for the extruders.”

Since the accident at work occurred, Thermaset Ltd have made numerous health and safety improvements.

Machines have been guarded appropriately, they have a documented safe system of work and have ensured that all workers are suitably trained.

Vicki adds, “If these safety measures had been in place at the time of Mr Capewell’s accident at work, his injuries could have easily been avoided.”

If you have been injured in an accident at work through no fault of your own, Vicki Wright and Melanie Lidstone Land are happy to offer you a free initial consultation to discuss the possibilities of making a claim against your employer.

We can work on a no win no fee basis for you.

So call Vicki or Melanie for free on 0800 0351 999