The Workers Union is calling for company chiefs to ‘step up’ their investment in health and safety measures.
The announcement came after the Health and Safety Executive, (HSE), published details of a worker’s hand being drawn into machinery at a sheet metal works in Colne, Lancashire.
Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how an apprentice at R Briggs Sheetmetal Fabrication Ltd, was left unsupervised while they operated a swaging machine. The apprentice’s fabric safety gloves got caught in the machine, and while they were able to release a foot pedal to stop the wheels rotating, it did not prevent a crushed finger tip and a fracture. The apprentice was subsequently unable to work for two months.
The HSE’s investigation revealed that the company had failed to undertake adequate risk assessments or provide appropriate safety measures – including recognising that the safety gloves could become entangled in the machine.
R.Briggs Sheetmetal Fabrication Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £13,000. The company was also ordered to pay £2,682 in costs.
The Workers Union Says…
Another day, another injury at work case. It seems, at times, like it’s become so common as to be an accepted part of our working culture. But injuries to working people are never acceptable, and more often than not they are avoidable. Sometimes it’s about providing adequate supervision and training; more often than not it’s about developing a culture that puts the wellbeing of staff above all other considerations.
It’s clear that the prospect of heavy fines do not always act as a deterrent for some firms. And yet it’s never been more important for British business to clean up its act. The great resignation and heavy demand in the jobs market means that workers have more options than they’ve had in recent years. Disaffected staff with suitable motivation can trade up for positions that they believe will offer them a better deal.
So we say to firms that think health and safety is a bureaucratic exercise: It’s time to step up your game. Your workers are your greatest asset and should be treated as such. If you fail to recognise that simple maxim you risk falling behind in the race to recruit and retain staff.