Two recycling companies have been fined a total of £75,000 following safety breaches which led to workers’ injuries.
Metal Processing in Southampton and Kybotech in Sutton-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, were both prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
West Hampshire Magistrates’ Court fined Metal Processing £35,000 and ordered it to pay employee Ivan Menedez £3,000 in costs after he had both hands severed while cutting metal strips on an industrial baler (pictured) on 8 January 2014.
The court heard the system used was fundamentally flawed despite being regularly used. Crucially, there was no direct line of sight between the operator who closed the baler lid and the hands of Menedez, who was loading the metal strips.
The HSE said it had been a routine task at the recycling plant and, although Menendez had been shown what to do by practical demonstration and supervision, he had not seen or read the operating manual which said that baling machines should be operated by only one employee.
Kybotech was fined £40,000 with £1,314 in costs after 19-year-old employee Mark Marshall severed most of a forearm in an unguarded machine on 11 July 2013.
An HSE investigation found a piece of plastic that would have reduced the size of the opening in front of the drive mechanism had previously been damaged so the aperture was not small enough to prevent his hand from being drawn in.