Packaging firm fined for ignoring safety warnings

The owners of a packaging manufacturer in Bolton have been prosecuted and fined for deliberately ignoring health and safety warnings over a period of three years.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted company directors Yvonne Barrett and Anthony Smith after they failed to ensure that guards were fitted to the machines they used to produce packaging for fast food outlets. These guards are designed to protect workers fingers from becoming caught in the rotating machinery.

The company, First Packaging Ltd, was issued with an Improvement Notice by the HSE in January 2008. Despite a six month extension on the deadline to comply with the notice, no guards were fitted on the machines by the time inspectors visited again.

The HSE was told that the factory was closing, so officers took no further action. However, the factory actually moved to new premises in Westhoughton, still using the same unguarded machines. More Improvement Notices were issued, along with Prohibition Notices.

Eventually, the owners of the company were fined for failing to ensure the safety of workers. It is assumed that the directors wilfully ignored safety warnings, rather than doing so because they hadn’t had the right health and safety training.