As one of the remaining giant companies in the UK, and leading producers of paper-based packaging in the world, Smurfit Kappa UK has done well to maintain its success, especially during the last few years where businesses have struggled to stay afloat.
However, Smurfit Kappa UK has recently found itself in a troublesome situation after pleading guilty to health and safety regulation breaches after an employee severed his fingers while operating one of the machines at its Whitehaven factory.
The accident at work, which occurred in September 2010, left the employee in extreme shock and pain as he lost two fingers on each hand, while another two fingers on his right hand were severed at the knuckle.
The employee who wishes to remain anonymous, was working with a 35- tonne power press used to stamp out metal lids for cardboard whisky bottle packaging, at the time of the accident. The employee from Egremont was testing a newly replaced piece of the machinery when his fingers were severed.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) made an interesting discovery during their investigation, finding that the employee’s supervisor left the company four months prior to the accident, who was later replaced by staff with inadequate skills and training for the supervisory role.
The employee also insists that he was not given adequate training to operate the machinery and revealed that there was no suitable risk assessment for the process.
Smurfit Kappa UK faced Carlisle Crown Court on March 21st 2013, pleading guilty to breaching a regulation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £200,000 and a further £19,308 in prosecution costs.
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Author: Nicholas Jervis