£11k fine for glass factory

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A GLASS manufacturer has been fined more than £11,000 after an Dunstable man’s arm was cut to the bone when a sheet of glass shattered in his hand.

Ian Swain, 37, of Spoondell, worked in the glass toughening section of the Nicholls and Clarke Glass factory on the Woodside Industrial Estate in Houghton Regis when the incident happened, almost two years ago.

Luton Magistrates Court heard yesterday that on 20 October 2009, Mr Swain picked up a large piece of glass when it cracked and shattered without warning. One of the shards lacerated his right forearm above his wrist guard, severing the artery, muscle and nerves.

Mr Swain was taken to hospital where he received more than 250 stitches. He wore a plaster cast for three months, and has lost the full feeling in his right forearm and some movement in his wrist. He is still undergoing physiotherapy and has since lost his job.

An inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said the serious injury could have been avoided “had Mr Swain been provided with full arm protection”.

The HSE investigation into the incident found the protective equipment Nicholls and Clarke provided for its employees was inadequate and insufficient. It also found the company had failed to report a similar incident which had seriously injured another employee on 23 June 2008.

Nicholls and Clarke Glass Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 for which it was fined a total of £11,200 with £3,977.40 costs.

HSE Inspector Emma Rowlands said: “Had Mr Swain been provided with full arm protection he would have avoided serious injury.

“Guidance on the provision of personal protective equipment for employees is freely available from HSE.

“I am pleased to see Nicholls and Clarke Glass are now issuing all their employees with cut resistant long sleeved polo shirts to wear while working in their factories.

“HSE will not hesitate to take action against companies failing to comply with the law.”