Adhesive firm fined after worker loses part of thumb

A Northamptonshire-based adhesive tape manufacturer has been fined after a worker severed his thumb in machinery.

Latrave produces resealable bag tapes and specialist adhesive tapes, amongst other tapes.  The 19-year old agency worker, who asked not to be named, had been working at Latrave for three weeks when the incident happened on 25 August 2010.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, he was being trained to fix a known problem on a running printing press when his left hand was pulled in between two rollers. He was airlifted to the specialist hand injury unit at Royal Derby Hospital where he had part of his thumb amputated.

He was in hospital for five days and off work for nearly seven months.

A HSE investigation into the incident found the machine’s guard was missing and that the worker was being trained in an unsafe way.

Wellingborough magistrates found Latrave guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The firm was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £14,736.

Missing guards

After the hearing HSE inspector Mark Austin said:”This inexperienced 19-year-old agency worker has suffered serious, permanent harm because Latrave failed to ensure his safety when operating this machine. His future career path may have been changed and it will have a lasting effect on his life.

“The machine had guards missing, he was shown dangerous practices like keeping it running while fixing it, and was not properly supervised for someone who had only worked for the company for less than three weeks.

“Companies need to make sure all guards are in place on their machines no matter who is using them, but inexperienced workers need greater training and supervision because of their lack of experience. HSE will inevitably take action against firms who fail in these ways.”

As PN went to press nobody from Latrave was available for comment.