Global Packing Company in Gosport fined for guarding safety failings

Vicki Wright, Personal Injury Solicitor at Swain & Co in Havant, reports on Health & Safety Executive hearing at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court

A global packaging company, Huhtamaki UK Ltd, which is based in Gosport, Hampshire has been fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £3,088 in costs by Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court following a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.  The company, which specialises in food and drink packaging, has 60 manufacturing sites throughout the world, including the Hampshire factory.

The single incident occurred on 4 February 2013 when a long-standing worker at the factory suffered a serious injury to the first finger on his right hand.  Unfortunately, surgeons were unable to save his finger and it was amputated the following day.

The injured man was part of a two-man team who were tasked with feeding plastic sheets into the machine. Whilst feeding the plastic sheet onto a chain that would draw it inside the machine (described as being like a spiked bicycle chain), his finger was caught between the chain and a roller.  Following an investigation, the Health and Safety Executive found that if the feeding line had been appropriately guarded to prevent access to this dangerous part of the machine, the incident could have been avoided.

Vicki Wright, lawyer at Swain & Co specialising in personal injury compensation claims said, “It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the employee is provided with safe equipment and machinery. It seems that in this case, however, the company had failed to provide the necessary guarding which sadly led to one of their loyal employees suffering a serious accident.  It could and should have been avoided”.