Firm fined after worker loses arm in machine

Farnbeck Ltd were fined �46,660 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Greg Macvean
Farnbeck Ltd were fined �46,660 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Factory bosses have been fined nearly £50,000 after a worker lost his arm in a machinery accident.

Akshay Phale, 30, had been attempting to wrap fabric around a spindle at Farnbeck in Leith on June 5, 2012, when his arm was dragged inside.

A colleague heard a scream, shouted to another worker to shut everything down and rushed to Mr Phale’s aid.

He found his colleague’s arm had been entangled between the spindle and the wrapped fabric, which is used as a coating on banknotes.

As the cylinder was rotating, it pulled his hand around it, trapping his forearm.

He was stuck for more than an hour until fire crews were able to disconnect the motor and free him before he was rushed to hospital.

Surgeons fought to save his limb, but they were unable to restore the blood flow and were forced to amputate his right arm below the elbow.

In a statement prepared by his injury lawyer, Paul Kirkwood of Lawford Kidd, Mr Phale said the spindle had caught his arm and broken it in “several different places”.

It added: “My broken arm was dragged further into the turning spindle. I was unable to reach the emergency stop button which was 8ft away from me.”

Mr Phale – who was left with permanent scars on his back, arm, leg and right hand and has not been able to return to work – underwent several operations and needed months of physiotherapy.

Farnbeck, based in Old Bonnington Road, was fined £46,660 after pleading guilty to breaching safety regulations at Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard yesterday. Bosses previously paid £100,000 for a top-of-the-range prosthetic limb for Mr Phale – called the Michelangelo arm – on top of a compensation payment.

Mr Phale said: “It is clear that the court took a very serious view of the serious impact of this accident on me.”

Farnbeck director Douglas Main said: “The accident to Akshay was extremely distressing for everyone at Farnbeck.

“I visited him every single day he was in hospital, and I have been in regular contact with him since his release, helping him as far as possible in his rehabilitation.

“As was mentioned in court, Farnbeck had no previous health and safety problems.

“We are extremely sorry about what happened to Akshay and since the accident we have committed more resources to health and safety, and worked in tandem with HSE to ensure as far as possible that our factory is a safe place to work.”