Rochdale Bedding Company Fined More Than £250,000 After Two Employees Lose Fingers in Machinery

A bedding company has incurred a fine exceeding a quarter of a million pounds following two employees’ serious injuries in machinery-related incidents.

Sartex Quilts and Textiles Limited, situated in Castle Mill, Rochdale, faced prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the aftermath of these deemed “serious and avoidable” occurrences.

On his first day working on the production line, a 32-year-old man from Burnley lost three fingers while cleaning the measuring wheel on a cutting machine. In his victim personal statement, he reflected, “Prior to this incident, I was a healthy, happy, and active person. At the time, I had one very young son; now I have two children. I consciously limit exposing my left hand when engaging with my children or in their company. The incident is not a topic of discussion with them, and I make efforts to conceal my injured hand from public view.”

A 51-year-old individual from Rochdale suffered the loss of two fingertips when his glove became entangled in machinery, leading to his right hand being drawn in.

Upon investigation, the HSE revealed that the company had neglected to install guards on the machinery and failed to implement adequate procedures to isolate machines from power.

The Magistrates’ Court in Manchester & Salford levied a fine of £251,250 on the company, along with an additional cost of £6,862.63, on 14 February 2024.

HSE inspector Elena Pickford remarked after the hearing: “These injuries were both serious and preventable; the associated risks should have been identified. Employers must conduct thorough assessments and ensure that access to hazardous machinery components is effectively restricted. Had the machinery been appropriately safeguarded, and safe isolation procedures been in place, these incidents could easily have been avoided.”