A national discount retailer has been hit with a hefty court fine after a woman’s arm was caught in a cardboard compactor at its Middlesbrough store.
The Poundworld worker was injured when her arm became entangled in the machine she was using at the company’s former store in Captain Cook Square in December 2013.
An investigation into the accident was carried out by Environmental Health Officers from Middlesbrough Council’s public protection service.
It was established that the machine had been supplied and installed by Easi Recycling Solutions Ltd, York.
Charges were subsequently brought against both companies under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Poundworld Retail Ltd was charged with failing to ensure the safety of its employees by failing to provide plant and systems of work that were safe and without risk to health.
Easi Recycling Solutions Ltd was charged with failing to conduct its undertaking to ensure that persons who may be affected were not exposed to risks to their health or safety.
Both companies had entered guilty pleas at an earlier hearing before Teesside Magistrates’ Court on February 3.
Magistrates referred sentencing to Teesside Crown Court and the case was heard yesterday.
Appearing before Judge Tony Briggs, Poundworld was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £4,800 towards the council’s costs.
Easi Recycling was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay a further £4,000 in costs.
Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council’s environmental health and trading standards manager, said: “This accident was the result of inadequate health and safety management and a lack of adequate training for employees in the safe use of dangerous equipment.
“The member of staff injured had been using the machine when her arm became trapped by a hydraulically-operated press, causing serious crushing injuries.
“If better safety procedures, supervision and training had been implemented for the users of the machine, this accident would have been avoided.”
Coun Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for communities and public health, said: “Industrial accidents are thankfully rare, but when they do occur they have the potential to be life-threatening and life-changing.
“That is why we have stringent health and safety laws, which place employers under a duty to protect the safety of their employees and of other people who could be affected by the activities of their business.
“This case should serve as a reminder to employers to ensure that any equipment they have which can cause injury is correctly installed, maintained and used in a safe manner, and that includes ensuring that those who use it are properly trained and instructed.”