Dye house, Fashion Finishers, was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs, after its failure to maintain the safety interlocks on a hydro-extractor.

Lack of maintenance led directly to an employee’s death and the case, heard at Leicester Crown Court on 22 January 2001, was brought by the Health and Safety Executive.

Narinder Bharj was working the night shift at the company’s factory in Belgravia, Leicestershire on 15 June 1999, and died when he was pulled into the machine while loading it.

Revolving cage

Mr Bharj had opened the lid of the machine and was feeding fabric into the cage while it was revolving, The material caught round his body and he was pulled into the machine. The case was brought by the Health and Safety Executive under Regulation 5 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment regulations 1998 which relates specifically to machine maintenance.

HM Inspector Health and Safety David Coackley told LCN that the mechanical interlock, a rotation sensing device, was not working which meant that the lid could be raised while the drum was still revolving.

He said that the case sends out a message to the industry that machinery needs to be properly maintained. These rotation sensing devices do wear with use and regular testing is essential.