A PACKAGING firm has been fined more than £50,000 after an investigation into a worker’s injury revealed ‘appalling’ safety standards.

Europlast (Blackburn) Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after an employee had part of a finger amputated.

Preston Crown Court heard that the 26-year-old employee from Blackburn had been working on a machine used to produce bubble wrap when the incident happened at the plant at Shadsworth Business Park on June 6, 2012.

He was trying to remove small pieces of plastic which had become stuck when his hand was pulled in between two rollers. The man suffered burns and crush injuries to his hand, required skin grafts and had to have the top half of his middle finger amputated.

The court was told two other workers had also suffered injuries when their hands became trapped in machinery in April 2012 and September 2011.

HSE first made Europlast aware of the need to guard dangerous machine parts during a visit to the site in September 2009. This warning was repeated in July 2011 when an external health and safety consultant highlighted ‘intolerable risks’ from missing guards on machines.

Europlast (Blackburn) Ltd, of Duttons Way, Blackburn, was fined £50,010 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £23,102 after admitting breaches of the management of health and safety at work regulations 1999, the provision and use of work equipment regulations 1998 and the health and safety at work etc Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Mike Sebastian said: “There appears to have been a complete absence of any attempt to organise or control health and safety at the factory, with the company apparently showing a total lack of care about the safety of its employees.”