Accidents at work are still a problem

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SAFETY campaigners have welcomed a decrease in workers injured in industrial accidents in Wigan.

Figures show that a total of 529 staff suffered major trauma or were off work for more than three days to recover because of an incident – a fall of 88 on 2009/2010.

These included gruesome injuries to a 22-year-old female worker from Platt Bridge who needed a metal plate in her arm after it became caught in a potato blanching machine at the Hitchen Foods plant on Dobson Park Way, Ince.

Parent company Bakkavör Foods Limited was ordered to pay more than £12,000 in fines and costs after being prosecuted and admitting failing to ensure the dangerous parts on the machine were guarded.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard the hygiene worker dislocated her elbow and broke three bones in her arm after it became caught between a conveyor belt and rollers on June 28, 2010. The damage to her arm was so significant that she was off work for more than eight months.

In another incident a construction worker suffered psychological harm and could have been killed when he cut into a live electricity cable on a Wigan building site.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted his employer Wainhomes (North West) Limited, after an investigation revealed he had been told the cable did not have power running through it. The 42-year-old, from Bickershaw, was knocked unconscious by the 230 volt electric shock.

Wainhomes had been refurbishing an old farmhouse as part of a project to build a cluster of new houses on Smethurst Lane, in Pemberton. Wainhomes, of Kelvin Close in Birchwood, Warrington, was fined £8,000, and ordered to pay £2,095 in prosecution costs. Now the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a fresh warning about workplace safety while urging employers to make the safety of workers their top priority for 2012.

High risk injuries include construction, agriculture plus waste and recycling. Two workers lost their lives while at work in the county and 1,116 suffered a major injury. This compares to four deaths and 1,272 major injuries in 2009/10.

Another 4,139 workers suffered an injury or ill health which required them to take at least three days off work in 2010/11, compared to 4,520 in 2009/10.

HSE’s Regional Director for the North West David Sowerby said: “These statistics highlight why we need good health and safety in British workplaces. We have one of the lowest rates of workplace deaths in Europe, but one death is still one too many.”