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Jiffy Packaging Company Limited; manufacturers of the famous ‘Jiffy Bags’ along with other packaging and stationery products, has been fined £70,000 and ordered to pay costs of £53,509 after one of its workers lost a thumb in an accident at their premises in Cheshire.

The accident happened when an employee was cleaning one of the machines. He was using a rag to clean ink from a roller when the rag got caught in the cogs of the machine and his hand was pulled into the machinery. His left thumb was severed, and he was off work for 15 weeks while receiving skin grafts as part of his hospital treatment.

The HSE investigated the incident and found that while there was a risk assessment in place, it had been written nine years previously by an employee who was not suitably trained to carry out risk assessments. There was no identification of the risks of unguarded machinery, which had been highlighted previously by the HSE in the form of Improvement Notices. While some parts of the machines were guarded, there were not adequate measures taken to protect all of the dangerous areas.

HSE Inspector Adam McMahon said after the hearing: “The employee’s life-changing injuries could have been prevented if a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had been completed and the correct control measures had been implemented. The day after the accident the company carried out a new risk assessment of the machine guarding in the area in which the employee had reached through, the company then followed this up with a written safe system of work relating to cleaning the rollers.

Employers have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of their workers, and that includes putting in place suitable procedures to ensure that workers are not unnecessarily injured. In this case a suitable risk assessment would have almost inevitably highlighted the potential danger from the unguarded machinery, and avoided the employee being injured. If you have been injured at work you might be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Contact one of our highly experienced solicitors today, free of charge, and they will be able to listen to your experience and decide on the best way to get the compensation you deserve.