Neath Aluminium container manufacturer faced with almost £20,000 in penalties.

Gaynor Gordon was seriously injured while trying to retrieve some aerosol cans that had fallen from the production line at Envases (UK) in July 2012.

Neath Magistrates heard yesterday (11 December) that when Gordon had reached into an unguarded gap between a packaging machine and a strapping machine, a can collection basket had lowered, trapping her head.

When colleagues heard her shouting, they quickly released her from the equipment. She was taken to hospital and treated for a fractured cheek and eye socket.

Gordon also suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and was unable to return to work until October this year.

The HSE’s investigation found there was no guard to prevent workers’ access to dangerous parts of the packaging machinery.

Inspectors served a prohibition notice stopping use of the equipment until it was properly guarded.

Envases (UK) installed fixed mesh guarding later the same day to bring the machine back into production. The HSE said that this showed controlling the risk was quite straightforward.

Magistrates fined the firm £13,000 plus £6590 costs after it pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision of Work Equipment Regulations.

Shires Law partner, Joanne du Plessis, points out that this was an accident that could easily have been avoided. ” A simple risk assessment would have identified the need for a guard to have been in place. Had this been in place the accident would have been avoided.”