An experienced technician at a plastic products factory in Cornwall was killed after he was crushed between the plates on a machine used to make plastic lids.

Shaun O’ Dwyer, 54, originally from North Yorkshire, but living in Redruth died in the incident on 30 May 2008 at Curver UK Ltd’s factory on Cardew Industrial Estate.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Curver UK Ltd (formerly Contico Europe Ltd) for failing to provide adequate safety measures

Truro Crown Court heard that in preparing the machinery Mr O’Dwyer needed to access the plastic mouldings machine’s plates. This was normally done via a guard which, when opened, prevented the machine from operating. However in this case one of the conveyors on the machine had been removed and Mr O’Dwyer was able to access the machine through an unguarded gap. Whilst he was inside the press started to operate and the plates closed crushing him at a pressure of over 1,000 tonnes.

HSE Inspector, Trevor Hay, said:

“This tragic incident could have been avoided if the company had observed standard industry guidance from the British Plastics Federation and the British Standards Institution.

“Conveyors should be bolted into position, or fitted with an electrical cut-off switch which removes power to the machine when the conveyor is taken away.

“Effective guarding should prevent access to dangerous machinery by workers, or an automatic system should cut off the power supply if someone is working inside.

“Users of such machinery should ensure effective safeguards are in place to avoid further deaths or injuries to their workers.”

Curver UK Ltd of York Gate, London, pleaded guilty to committing a breach of Regulation 11 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations under Section 33(1) (c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay £32,000 costs.