Worker killed in textile factory accident
Health & Safety update - 14/06/2011
A male worker was killed after being crushed in a workplace
accident at a textile factory.
The 40-year-old man was cleaning a large baling machine at
Westwood Yarn's factory in Holmfirth, Huddersfield when the
The baling machine re-activated as the man worked on it and he
was trapped by the force of one plate before being crushed by a
vertical compressing ram. Although a colleague ran to help, it was
too late and the worker was pronounced dead at the scene as a
result of his injuries.
Following the accident, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
carried out an investigation and found that management failings
were the cause of the accident. The textile worker, despite having
been at the firm since he was 18, had never received any formal
training on how to clean the baling machine.
The machine had been left in 'automatic' mode rather than shut
down completely, as it should have been. HSE also revealed that a
lack of supervision over work processes at the factory had likely
contributed to the incident.
Westwood Yarns was fined £60,000 plus £20,625 in costs at
Bradford Crown Court after pleading guilty to breaching Section
2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
HSE inspector Kirsty Townend, said, “This was an entirely
preventable tragedy. The dangers of baling machines are notorious
in the industry but are still all too common. At Westwood Yarns,
there was a common misunderstanding that isolation and lock-off at
the mains were not required.
"No one seemed to appreciate fully how the baling machine worked
from a safety perspective, so dangerous assumptions were made which
led directly to [a worker's] death," she added.