A RISHTON company has been fined £12,000 after a 16-year-old boy had his hand mangled in an industrial printing press.
East Lancashire Box Company of Spring Mill, Spring Street, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after fire crews had to be called to release James Dean’s hand from the rollers.
James, of Hermitage Street, Rishton, had hoped to pursue a career in the Army. However, almost a year on, he is still unable to straighten his fingers despite having five operations and has had to rethink his future.
The company pleaded guilty at Hyndburn Magistrates Court on Wednesday and was fined £7,000 for failing to ensure the safety of employees, £3,000 for failing to make suitable risk assessments and £2,000 for employing a child at an industrial premises. It was also ordered to pay £3,451 costs.
HSE Inspector Matthew Lea told the court that James had lived in Thailand with his father Darren until 2007. Because he was so far behind with his GCSE studies it was recommended that he was educated at home but instead looked for work to provide an income.
He started work at East Lancashire Box Company on 3 March last year.
On 28 March, the day of the accident, James was asked to clean the S and S printer – a machine which prints logos and labels for cardboard boxes.
He wrapped a rag around his hand and started to clean the ink off the rollers while they were still running. As James moved his hand along the roller the rag became caught and James’s hand was pulled in and crushed.
James shouted out in pain and fellow workers ran over and switched the machine off but his hand remained trapped. The Fire Brigade was called and freed his hand using crowbars to separate the machine.
He was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital where his flattened hand was stitched together.
Speaking after the case, the teenager said: “My hand is still bent. I can’t straighten it and I still get a lot of pain in my fingers.
“When it happened, it was disgusting. I can’t explain how it felt because I had never experienced anything like it before.
“My little finger was hanging off. I just kept saying ‘that’s not my hand’. It was all blue and the skin was hanging off. I could see my bones and it was completely flat.
“Even now I still can’t do simple things like wash my face or rub my hands together.
“It was just a temporary job until I went into the Army. I was supposed to have my physical test in Scotland but they said I couldn’t join because I couldn’t even do a press-up. I had wanted to go in the Army for so long.”
His dad Darren, who lives in Wales, added: “His hand will never be right His fingers looked like burst sausages and I thought he was going to lose his hand. The doctors stitched them all up and luckily the nerve system wasn’t too badly damaged but all his bones were fractured.”
After the accident the Heath and Safety Executive was called and found the company did not have written risk assessments for the 35 workers or for the machinery at the site.
Mr David Wright, defending, said there had been no accidents at the company for 27 years.
Passing sentence, the chairman of the Bench, Dr Irene Ridge, said: “We are faced with the point that here was a young man to whom lasting harm has been caused. It will affect his future prospects and his hopes of getting into the Army.”