De La Rue, the company that prints the UK's banknotes, has appeared in court after an employee had to have his face reconstructed when his head got trapped in a gap in a paper press machine.
The worker endured a nine-hour operation following the incident, which happened because the firm failed to provide a safe system of work for removing broken paper from a paper-making machine, North Somerset magistrates were told.
On 16 March 2017, an employee of De La Rue International was helping colleagues to remove paper from the machine by standing in the gap between the size press and the after-dryer section at the Bathford Paper Mill in Bath.
A fixed guard was opened and the drum began to move clockwise towards the worker, the opposite direction to what he was expecting. By the time he realised the drum was operating in reverse, it had turned and trapped his head between the spar and the base of the fixed guard.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigators found that the UK firm – which prints cash for about 140 central banks and employs more than 2,500 people globally – had not provided a safe system of work for the removal of broken paper from the after-dryer section of the paper-making machine when the machinery was operated in reverse.
The company admitted breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,191.
'Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working,' said HSE inspector Tania Nickson.
“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”