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Paper Mill Fined After Worker Injured
Posted by David Cant on March 22, 2013

Safe Practices not adhered to whilst cleaning machinery

A worker in his fifties was seriously injured at a paper mill when his arm was caught in the moving parts of the machine. The worker had worked for the company for 17 years and was performing a task on the Paper Coating Machine at the Stoneywood Paper Mill.  The machine is used to apply extra coatings to paper that have been formed into sheets.

Cleaning Method was not safe

The machine, which was installed in the mill in 2003, needed to have the rolls cleaned. The worker was attempting to clean them via the coating head section.  This was necessary as the coating mix was coming out and acuminating on the rolls. When the machine was running the employee went to the rear end of the machine and climbed up using a set of steps so he could stand on the back of the machine. He steadied himself using his right hand while he cleaned the rolls with a cloth held in his left hand. He had used this method in the past without any issues. However, this time his left hand became caught in the machine and he was seriously injured.

£75,000 Fine for Accident

The man suffered from a fractured arm and has had to have two metal plates put in which has left him with scarring. The accident has left him with reduce mobility in his left arm although in time he should regain the use of his arms although it will never be completely sorted again.

The Health and Safety Executive discovered that workers using the machines had been cleaning the rolls in an unsafe method. The management appeared not to be aware of the methods and therefore the investigators concluded that the management didn’t have suitable supervision in place. Arjo Wiggins Fine Paper Ltd was fined £75,000 for breaching a section in the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Enforce the Safe System of Work Methods and Provide Suitable Supervision

Despite the Paper Mill having established safe working systems for cleaning the roll these methods had slipped over time. As the cleaning methods were not spotted it was allowed to continue which was putting workers at risk.

When you create your working methods it is essential that you communicate these systems with your employees and ensure they are being followed correctly. Health and Safety Consultants are able to help you with the creation of your safe working methods and risk assessments as well as help you with your health and safety management systems.

Failing to ensure safe working methods are being followed puts workers at risk and may result in an accident. There are many health and safety services available, just call 0800 1488 677 to learn more.


Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME's favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick.

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