Wigan firm fined £80,000 after employee's fingers partially severed in machinery

A leading bedding manufacturer has been fined £80,000 after a Wigan employee suffered horrific injuries when his hand was drawn into a machine.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

John Cotton Group Limited faced legal action following the incident at Snuggledown in Ashton on December 9, 2020, which resulted in the machine operator having three fingers on his left hand amputated.

The incident occurred due to there being inadequate procedures in place to allow safe interventions with machinery, a court was told.

Read More
Tragic death of 'remarkable' Wigan mum after trauma and complex mental illness
Snuggledown in AshtonSnuggledown in Ashton
Snuggledown in Ashton
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 36-year-old man, from Wigan, had noticed a fault with the machine and in an attempt to resolve the issue, tried to power it down to allow access.

However, the machine was still moving and his left hand contacted moving parts, causing serious injury.

During a hearing at Manchester City Magistrates’ Court, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforcement lawyer Radha Vaithianathar said the man’s fingers were partially severed by the machinery, with the remainder having to be surgically amputated at hospital.

An investigation by the HSE found John Cotton Group Limited, a leading manufacturer of bedding, had not made adequate arrangements to prevent access to dangerous moving parts of the machine.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The company failed to provide a sufficiently robust procedure for powering down the machine to allow safe access.

There was also inadequate training, monitoring and supervision of employees for dealing with problems with the machine.

John Cotton Group Limited, of Beaver Court, Lockett Road, Ashton, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) and 33(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The company was fined £80,000 and was ordered to pay £4,989.05 in costs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After the hearing, HSE inspector Thomas Delroy said: “This severe injury could have been easily prevented and the risk should have been identified.

“Employers should make sure they have a robust procedure for isolating machinery and they have appropriate training, supervision and monitoring to ensure it is adhered to.”

The John Cotton Group Limited was founded in West Yorkshire in 1916 and describes itself as being “the UK’s largest manufacturer of pillows, duvets and protectors”.

As well as its Snuggledown site in Ashton, it has premises in Mirfield and Ravensthorpe in Yorkshire, as well as in Poland and Australia.