Workplace accident- Company fined £240,000

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A serious workplace accident in 2013 has lead to a Slough company being fined £240,000. The company manufacturing sealing products was fined after a worker was seriously injured when his arm was caught in machinery. The injured worker was trying to resolve a problem with the laminating machine. During this process his arm became trapped between two rollers.  In March 2016, Reading Crown Court heard how the worker suffered a serious workplace accident leading to him sustaining fractures to his upper and lower left arm, as well as significant muscle and nerve damage.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and found that there was no suitable risk assessment for the laminating machine. There were also no adequate measures to prevent access to dangerous moving parts.

Selig (UK) Limited, of Ajax Avenue, Slough, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), and Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and was fined £240,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,232.

Shires Law deals with many workplace accidents and recently dealt with a similar case of a machine operator.  Our client’s ankle became trapped in a machine at work. The safety cut off switch activated by the opening of the gate to the machine had been disabled by workers to allow them to work quicker. Despite this manipulation of the machine we were able to show that there had been no adequate risk assessment and also that the company had not prevented access to dangerous machinery.

The intention of the regulations as applied in this instance is to protect workers against inattention. Despite the other side trying to claim that our client was partially to blame for his own misfortune we maintained that the dominant cause of his accident was the failure of the Defendant to comply with PUWER. As such, we argued,  he would not be found to have been negligent in all the circumstances of the accident.

We were able to negotiate an out of court settlement for our client and he received a sum of £50,000.00 for his broken ankle and distress. We would also add that as our client was unable to work for a long period of time we also negotiated a sum of money early on in the claim. This meant that our client was not out of pocket whilst negotiations continued and we were able to hold out until we received a generous final settlement award. This is very important in workplace accident cases. The more serious the case the less likely it is that the injured party is able to work.

If you have suffered a workplace accident you need to speak to an expert solicitor about your rights. Please call Joanne du Plessis for free confidential advice.