Accidents at work prevented after manufacturer fined £50,000

Published: 20/06/2013

Workers at a Rochdale bedding manufacturers are lucky not to have been seriously injured or even killed in a workplace accident after a health and safety inspection deemed the majority of its machines as unsafe to use.

After a 2-day inspection, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors found dozens of missing or inadequate guards on machines. In one instance the only thing ‘protecting’ employees from an accident at work were pieces of cardboard covering machinery.

As result the inspectors issued three Prohibition Notices to stop some work immediately plus a subsequent 12 Improvement Notices.

HSE Inspector, Helen Mansfield, comments:

“This was one of the worst cases of missing or inadequate guards I or my colleagues have ever seen. Every corner we turned, we found another issue.

“The company put production before health and safety and put the lives of its employees in danger as a result. Common sense should have meant they didn’t use cardboard to cover dangerous moving parts but that’s exactly what we found on one machine.

“Hundreds of injuries are reported every year across Great Britain caused by poor or missing guards and it’s only luck that no one has been seriously injured or even killed at Sartex Quilts factory in Rochdale.”

There were over 17,000 workplace accidents in the manufacturing sector reported in 2011/12.

Sartex Quilts and Textiles Ltd admitted a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £50,000 plus £14,614 in prosecution costs.

Content correct at time of publication

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