Man died in horrific incident in Houghton Regis factory inquest hears

A worker suffered catastrophic injuries after being pulled into machinery at a Houghton Regis factory.

Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 11:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 11:37 am

Brett Dolby died at Scapa Tapes Ltd on Humphrys Road on April 10 last year.

Mr Dolby, 44, was found by fellow workers trapped in machinery during the night shift at the factory, an inquest at Ampthill heard yesterday.

A post mortem revealed he had suffered severe damage to his left-hand side, after being crushed between two rollers. He died at the scene.

Supervisor Les Richmond said he had only seen Mr Dolby minutes earlier when they had taken a tea break.

Shortly after returning to his own machinery he heard a noise he thought could 
have been a scream and then he was alerted by fellow workers that there had been an incident.

He found Mr Dolby, of Constable Close, Houghton Regis, lying on his side underneath one of the giant rollers of the Duffy machine.

Machine operator James Sells was first on the scene. He said he had been changing to work in the chemical room when he heard a scream.

He said he found the rolls at the end of the machinery, used to cut large rolls into tapes, had snapped and were spinning. He then saw Mr Duffy’s legs.

“I saw his legs and didn’t know if he was doing something to the machinery so I walked up, saw he was in trouble and hit the emrgency stop button,” he told the inquest.

He said the upper part of Mr Duffy’s body was over one roller and under another and he had part of the sticky tape stuck to his back.

When questioned, both Mr Richmond and Mr Sells said they believed health and safety at the factory was good, with regular risk assessments done on the machinery.

With the duffy machine Mr Dolby worked on his own, but several of the other machines could need up to three workers at a time.

But Mr Richmond said he would frequently walk around the factory checking workers were OK.

The duffy machine involves large rolls of plastic sheets being fed through, and adhesive being added before it is cut into smaller rolls.

Earlier, Mr Dolby’s mother, Dot Dolby, said her son was a grafter and preferred manual work.

The Luton born man “was very kind hearted and looked out for everyone,” she said.

“He enjoyed working at Scapa and he enjoyed life to the full.”

He was keen on sports and had recently taken up golf with fellow workers. He had also fundraised for Keech Hospice with a bungee jump and sky dive.

“Brett’s passing at such an early age has been devastating to all who knew him,” she said.

Scapa Group plc is a global supplier of bonding solutions and manufacturer of adhesive-based products for the healthcare and industrial markets.

The inquest continues