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Fine for Duco International Ltd

14/09/11: At Reading Crown Court Duco International Ltd were prosecuted by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failing to provide a safe system of work which led to the death of an employee at a their site in Eastbourne Road on the Slough Trading Estate in January 2008.

Mitesh Prashar, aged 24 and who lived locally in Slough was working the nightshift when he died at his machine.

Mr Prashar’s job was to operate an automatic inspection machine. The machine quality control checks rolls of cloth and rubber printing blanket before they are dispatched to customers. The blanketing transfers from one wheel to another whilst a photographic unit checks for flaws in the fabric.

Although there were no witnesses to the actual incident sometime around 2am on 15th January 2008, colleagues of Mr Prashar heard him cry out. Responding to this, they found him trapped between a sheet of rubberized blanket and the roller caught by his head, shoulder, left arm and torso. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A Health & Safety Executive investigation found the company had failed to carry out sufficient risk assessments relating to the hazards of operating the machine. It had not been checked since its most recent modification and inspectors also found access to the dangerous parts of the machine was not prevented by the inadequate existant guarding was inadequate. Additionally, Duco International Ltd were adjudged to have failed in providing its employees with the necessary instruction information or training.

Duco International Limited, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 3 (1) (a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The firm was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £43,352.

Nobody from the firm was available for comment. However, following proceedings HSE Inspector Ray Kelly said this is typical of what might and does happen with a failure or lack of health and safety management systems. It was a needless and tragic death that could have been avoided if there had been a proper assessment of hazards which would have highlighted the lack of guarding.

He reiterated that the HSE will continue to prosecute breaches of health and safety regulations.