Firms fined over dangerous die-cutter

Jo Francis
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Three companies – two corrugated packaging firms and a machinery supplier – have been fined after a worker suffered life-changing injuries while operating a flatbed die-cutting device.

HSE: machinery suppliers and purchasers must ensure safety
HSE: machinery suppliers and purchasers must ensure safety

Grantham-based sister companies Postpack Ltd and Damasco UK Ltd make and sell a variety of cardboard packaging materials including flatpack boxes and cartons, mailers and wraps, as well as bespoke cartons. 

The firms bought five flatbed die-cutting machines from DIG Corrugated Machinery Ltd of Leiston, Suffolk. 

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) reported that a worker using one of the machines “caught his hand under the rotating main roller and the fingers and thumb of his left hand were crushed, leading to their amputation”.

A subsequent HSE investigation found that the machine was supplied with “inadequate guards to prevent access to its dangerous parts”.

Following the incident Improvement Notices were served and the guards were extended.

At Lincolnshire Magistrates’ Court Postpack and Damasco pleaded guilty to contravening Regulation 11(1) of the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Postpack and Damasco were fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,152 with a victim surcharge of £340.

DIG Corrugated Machinery pleaded guilty to breaching its duty under Section 6(1)(a) of the Health & Safety at Work  Act 1974.

The firm was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £3,529.20 with a victim surcharge of £170.

Following the hearing HSE inspector Martin Giles said that those supplying machinery have a duty to ensure that it is safe, while purchasers and users of machinery must assess the equipment that they buy “and ensure that it is adequately guarded and that they have appropriate safe systems of work in place”.

“If the flatbed die-cutter had been adequately guarded, then the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have easily been prevented,” he stated. 

HSE’s guidance on machinery safety can be found here. 

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