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Plastics manufacturer fined after a worker became entangled in unguarded machinery

Printed plastics manufacturer Alfaplas Limited has been fined after a worker became unconscious as a result of asphyxiation when his tabard was entangled in the rotating spindle of a print machine.

Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court heard how, an employee who was a supervisor at Alfaplas Limited in Hereford, attempted to realign a reel of product on a print machine whilst it was running at half speed. The employee’s high visibility tabard became entangled in an unguarded rotating spindle, drawing in his clothing. He became unconscious as a result of asphyxiation from the entangled clothing. An operator on an adjacent machine intervened to stop the print machine.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to prevent access to the dangerous parts of machinery or stop dangerous parts before access was gained. They later fitted electro sensitive protection devices, which stopped the machine when the roller was active in the operator zone and the light beam was broken.

Alfaplas Limited of Ramsden Road, Rotherwas Industrial Estate, Hereford pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999. They were fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,379.