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Firm fined over worker's injury; Man's arm was trapped between two hot rollers.

Byline: By Stephen Hallmark

A COVENTRY floor covering firm has been fined pounds 40,000 as a result of an accident in which a worker's arm was trapped between hot rollers.

Liaquat Ali Khan suffered burns to his arms and fingers and needed skin grafts during his 13-month recovery.

Warwick Crown Court yesterday heard that Amtico Company Ltd had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to failing to ensure the safety of employees while they were threading PVC sheets into rollers during a laminating process.

In addition to the fine, the firm, of Kingfield Road, Foleshill, was ordered to pay pounds 8,567 costs.

Judge Christopher Hodson said the company had failed to ensure the safety of its workers, and in particular the safety of employee Mr Khan, known as Taj by his colleagues.

He said: "Taj was injured on the 10th of December 2004 when his fingers and then his arm were dragged into the lip between two rollers on the laminating machine he was operating while he was in the process of feeding a sheet into the rollers.

"The rollers were hot, and they caused burns to his fingers and arms, necessitating operations and skin grafts and leaving him unable to work for 13 months."

Mr Khan will return to work next week, on lighter duties.

The judge said Amtico's breaches of Health and Safety rules were in failing to carry out a proper risk assessment.

"If one had been carried out, a guard would have been fitted to the machine, which would absolutely have prevented this accident.

"Secondly, no safe operating procedure had been prescribed.

"If one had, and one has subsequently been drawn up, the risk of such an accident would have been substantially reduced, and in the event of an accident the extent of injury would have been reduced."

Mr Khan was an experienced operator who had worked for 25 years for this company.

But the judge said without a guard "it was an accident waiting to happen." A guard had been considered by the company in November, but discounted because workers said that in a previous configuration of the machine, a guard had been an obstacle to feeding in material.

He added: "That was a serious mistake, the more so because as a result of a previous accident in January 2003 the company had been advised by the Health and Safety Executive in respect of a different machine, that a guard should be fitted."

That accident led to the firm being fined pounds 10,000 - and it was conceded on behalf of Amtico that it had "failed to learn the general lesson" from that case.

But the judge added that in mitigation, the firm, which employs about 450 people and was 'generally a concerned and caring employer,' immediately fitted a guard, and instituted a safe operating procedure within days.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 10, 2006
Words:475
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