Press out of action after 'small fire' at GD Web Offset

Jo Francis
Thursday, March 29, 2018

The fire brigade was called to GD Web Offset yesterday after a drier on one of its heatset web offset presses exploded.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue sent three fire engines to the factory, at Wath-upon-Dearne near Rotherham.

“We were called at 1.20pm to a report of machinery on fire. We sent three fire engines, one from Dearne and two from Rotherham. It was a small fire and crews left the site at around 2.30pm,” a fire service spokesperson said.

PrintWeek understands that the incident occurred after a fire drill at the factory that had involved turning off the gas supply to the driers on the company's three web offset presses.

Following the drill, when the gas was restored and workers were going through start-up processes on the equipment, the drier on the firm’s M4000 48pp web exploded.

GD Web Offset co-owner Jeremy Spring told PrintWeek: “There has been an incident, but it is not a huge issue. One worker was taken to hospital for observation as a precautionary measure, but they’re fine,” he said.

“We had an issue with a machine and we are running on our other two presses while we assess the situation. We are rescheduling some jobs for a few customers and getting on with things,” he added.

“We had to turn all the gas off and get it checked, and that put us out of production for a couple of hours.”

Spring said it was too early to say whether the M4000 and drier were recoverable. The main area of damage is to the drier.

A HSE spokesperson said the organisation was awaiting notification regarding the incident: "HSE has not been formally made aware of such an incident but duty holders do have up to 10 days to report incidents to us for investigation."

The press involved is the M4000 that was acquired from the shuttered Artisan site by GD Web Offset’s predecessor Garnett Dickinson.

The press had suffered from operational issues under Garnett Dickinson and was blamed for the firm’s failure. It was subsequently re-aligned after GD Web Offset acquired the business and had apparently been running well since.

The near-16,000sqm GD Web Offset factory houses three web offset presses, two 48pp and one 16pp, as well as stitching and perfect binding equipment. The firm prints a range of magazine and catalogue products and employs around 125 staff.

Separately, HSE is yet to report on an incident last year, when an employee at GD Web Offset lost their lower arm in waste extractor/compactor just three weeks after the company had changed hands.   

Spring, who is chief executive of paper merchant and converter Aspenlink, acquired the business in January 2017 together with Paul Mursell, director of Southend-on-Sea web and sheetfed printer EWO Media.


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