Bath, UK banknote printer fined £300k after worker's head trapped
March 9, 2020
UNITED KINGDOM (From news reports) -- A banknote printing firm has been fined £300,000 after an employee had to have his face reconstructed after his head became trapped in a machine.
The worker underwent a nine-hour operation following the 2017 accident at Bathford Paper Mill, near Bath.
His life-changing injuries may have been prevented if equipment was safer, the Health and Safety Executive said.
Last week De La Rue International Limited pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The firm was fined £300,000 at North Somerset Magistrates' Court and ordered to pay costs of £11,191.
The court heard the man's head became trapped in a machine after a cylinder turned in the opposite direction to what he was expecting, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigators found the firm 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".
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Tania Nickson said De La Rue had a "responsibility to devise safe methods of working" and provide the "necessary information, instruction and training".
"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," she said.
Clive Vacher, De La Rue chief executive, offered his "heartfelt apologies that this incident occurred at the mill in Bathford".
"We understand the devastating impact this has had on the individual, his family and colleagues and have done everything we can to support them," he said.
A company spokesperson said De la Rue sold the paper businesses at Overton Mill and Bathford Mill in 2018 and the "sale was unrelated to the accident".
"This site had a very good health and safety record," they said.
"Following the accident, De La Rue reviewed its health and safety systems and standards throughout its operations."
UK-based De La Rue prints cash for about 140 central banks and employs more than 2,500 people globally.
All current Bank of England banknotes are printed by the firm at a site in Debden, Essex.