The court heard how Christopher Shaw was working for Eastern Counties Laundries at the firm’s factory on the Gorse Lane industrial estate in Clacton when the accident took place on April 20, 2006. Mr Shaw received neck and hand injuries after he tried to free a duvet caught in a conveyor belt at the laundry. He was left unconscious after the accident and was off work for three weeks.

The company was fined £30,000 with £15,000 costs.

After the case, HSE inspector Julie Rayner said: “HSE’s investigation found that blockages in the washing system occurred several times a day, yet there was no formal procedure for unblocking the machine, nor any training designed for such incidents. Workers were regularly climbing into the conveyors, placing them at significant risk of injury.

“This serious incident could, and should have, been prevented by the company ensuring that proper risk assessments and training for using this type of machinery were carried out.”