A paper firm has been fined after a Derbyshire worker suffered severe and permanent hand injuries.

David Millband, 46, a maintenance fitter was seriously injured when his right hand was caught in a reel-fed machine at The Crimped Paper Works Limited, Bowden Lane, Chapel-en-le-Frith, on 16 February 2010, which makes paper baking cases.

He lost three fingers, partially severed his thumb, suffered injuries to his little finger and underwent two surgeries. He went back to work on light duties approximately four months after the incident but was made redundant when the company went into administration in January.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated the incident, today told Buxton Magistrates that Mr Millband had been carrying out a visual check of the reel-fed machine when he noticed that the paper had come loose. When he opened the door of the machine, it kept running and his fingers became caught. The doors to the machine had interlocks for safety, but these had been overridden.

After today’s hearing, HSE inspector Fiona Coffey said:

“The incident was completely preventable. The company had a legal duty to prevent access to the dangerous parts of their machinery, but provided engineers with keys which could override the interlocks. There had been a similar incident five months earlier which had resulted in lesser injuries but, while the company had purchased a new system for the interlocks, they had not made this operational by the time of the second incident.

“The risks of overriding interlocks are well documented by the HSE and Mr Millband’s employers failed to ensure that measures were taken to prevent access to the dangerous parts of the machinery. As a result, a man has suffered a life-changing injury and has been unable to perform everyday tasks ever since.”

The Crimped Paper Works Limited, of Chapel-en-le-Frith, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £3,956.