Man had his thumb severed by machine

A 19-YEAR-OLD agency worker was flown to hospital in an air ambulance after his thumb was severed in a machine.

Joe Reynolds had been working for Latrave Ltd, an adhesive tape manufacturing firm on the Park Farm industrial estate in Wellingborough, for just 13 days when the incident happened on August 25, 2010.

The firm denies breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and is on trial at Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court.

Yesterday Andy Siddall, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Reynolds, now 20, had been trained in operating the machine in question by Karol Pallang, a worker at the firm who had not been trained to train other workers.

Mr Siddall said Mr Reynolds was left to operate the machine himself with “little or no supervision”.

He said when adhesive tape which Mr Reynolds was cutting overlapped inside the machine, Mr Pallang put his hand inside to rectify it and told Mr Reynolds to do the same if it happened again and left him alone.

When the tape overlapped again Mr Reynolds followed the instructions and his thumb was pulled into the rollers in the machine.

The accident caused the main artery in his thumb to be severed and he was airlifted to hospital in Derby, where he received “complex and lengthy’ treatment, including two operations.

Eventually it had to be amputated at the knuckle.

Mr Siddall said: “The decision to prosecute has not been taken lightly but in this case there were serious breaches with devastating consequences.”

The prosecution case is that Latrave Ltd breached health and safety law by leaving Mr Reynolds to run the machine himself, despite being only 13 days into the three-month training, and gave him little or no supervision.

The prosecution in the case say the firm was also in breach of health and safety law because the machine was not fitted with any guards.

Mr Siddall told the court that Mr Reynolds received instructions from Mr Pallang which were “unsafe”.

He said said: “We say this is the company’s worst failing.”

The trial continues.