Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 18:37 UK

Chemical firm fined over injuries

Mold Law Courts
The court heard the two accidents at Warwick International were identical

A chemical company has been ordered to pay £26,000 after two workers injured their hands in machinery.

Magistrates heard the two men needed skin grafts after almost identical accidents at the Warwick International site at Mostyn.

Both workers had been using a bagging machine when their hands became lodged in a conveyor belt roller.

The company said it had since it had since adopted a "gold plated" approach to the safety at the plant.

Flintshire Magistrates Court in Mold was told the incidents happened within weeks of each other, the first in December 2007 and the next in the following January.

Both men, Clwyd Roberts and Allan Breeze, had been working on a machine that bags washing additives at the bleaching chemical supplier.

Following the accident in December, the court heard that a safety review was carried out and modifications to the machine were made.

But magistrates were told that work that should have made sure rollers were released under pressure in fact had the opposite effect, tightening the machinery on any trapped material.

Clearly we are sorry it happened and we have taken all possible steps to prevent it happening again
Doug Lovatt, Warwick International

On January 13, 2008, Mr Breeze was working alone on the bagging machine when his hand became trapped, and had to shout for help until he attracted the attention of a fork-lift truck driver.

The worker suffered crush injuries and friction burns, and also needed a skin graft.

Dr Joanne Michael, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, alleged that the company had failed to learn from the first accident.

'Human error'

However, defending the firm, Rob Elvin insisted a review had taken place, and work was carried out. He said the second accident was a result of "human error" in allowing the machine to remain in use.

Mr Elvin said Warwick International was embarrassed, disappointed and angry at what had happened, and wished to publically apologise.

The court fined the company £12,000 for the first incident, and a further £14,000 for the second accident.

It was also ordered to meet costs of £1,947.

Speaking after the case, operations director Doug Lovatt said: "Clearly we are sorry it happened and we have taken all possible steps to prevent it happening again.

"We are disappointed that we lost control. We had the right systems in place to prevent the second accident but on that afternoon we did not follow the systems we had."

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