Leicester-headquartered Fusion Flexibles has been fined £50,000 after a member of staff lost three fingers in a cutting machine.
On 4 March 2016, the worker was cleaning the hot blade of a Vaga Plus C10 converter for cutting plastic sheets, when the blade lowered without warning and caused "irreversible injuries to three fingers on his right hand".
Fusion, called CPS Flexible at the time, pleaded guilty at Leicester Crown Court to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 following an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). At sentencing last week, the company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay legal costs of £8,825 due to its failure to identify the risk of the fallen blade or take action to eliminate it.
HSE inspector Mark Austin said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided if the company had taken measures to prevent this risk of the blade falling without warning, an issue with the machine that was known to many of the employees beforehand.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
Fusion Flexibles was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.
However, in a statement issued to the Leicester Mercury, the firm said: “Fusion Flexibles accepts the findings of the court and deeply regrets the accident. The company takes its responsibilities to health and safety very seriously and as such it is treated with the highest priority.”
According to the paper's report, representation for Fusion also told Leicester Crown Court that the firm "has made all efforts" to help the employee return to work, and still hopes that he will. The firm's cooperation with the HSE investigation following the accident was also praised by the prosecution as “commendable”.
In the interim between the incident and the verdict, CPS Flexible moved forward with a merger to join forces with Nottingham-based Mercury Packaging – which was reported in PrintWeek last March. The merger brought the entity’s combined turnover to £16m with a view to grow by 25% over three years.
CPS and Mercury then rebranded in November to become Fusion Flexibles. The combined entity employs around 150 members of staff in total.