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Paper Manufacturer Fined Over Worker Injury

A paper manufacturing company has been fined after a worker sustained serious injuries to his left arm after it got trapped in moving machinery.

Stonehaven Sherrif Court heard that the man from Aberdeen worked as a coaterman for Stoneywood Paper Mill which is being operated by Argowiggins Fine Papers when the incident took place on 15 October 2010.

The 54 year old man had been working for the same company for 17 years.  The incident took place when the worker was trying to clean accumulated coating mix off the rolls at the coating head section of the machine.   The accumulation of excess coating mix contamination on the roll was a result of a problem with the machine.

The worker who has chosen to remain unnamed tried to clean the rolls while the machine was operating at a speed of 300 metres per minute.

Using his left hand, he tried to clean the rolls with a cloth and sponge pad.  This is a method he had used previously.  But this time around, his hand was taken into the machine.

Although the worker had managed to free his hand within seconds of it being caught and raise alarm, he had been badly injured.

He has been left with impaired mobility, permanent scarring and required the insertion of two metal plates into his arm.  He has been told that he will never be able to make full recovery.  Although he has returned to work, he is on light duties.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that when the machine was installed in 2003, the company had provided training to its workers.  However, when interviews of employees in the company were carried out, it was found that there were workers who used unsafe methods to clean the rolls.  The management was not aware of this.

It was concluded that the management had failed to provide adequate supervision to the employees.

After the incident, the normal operating speed of the machine has been reduced to 80 metres per minute. In addition, the company has adopted a new method of cleaning the rolls to eliminate the risk of workers arms and hands becoming trapped into the machine.

Argowiggins Fine Papers Limited admitted to breaching Health and Safety at Work Act and was ordered to pay a fine of £75,000.