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Negligence of Textile Firm Bosses leads to Employee’s Death


A textile worker has been killed in a baling machine accident at a factory in Holmfirth as a direct result of his employer’s failure to ensure appropriate safety measures were put in place.

40 year old Gary Lee was cleaning the machine when it unexpectedly re-activated, delivering multiple crush injuries and causing his death.

The company responsible for the baling machine at Holmfirth’s Washpit Mills factory, Westwood Yarns Ltd., was fined £60,000 at Bradford Crown Court and also ordered to pay court costs totalling £20,625.

The prosecution was launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), whose representatives felt that the mill’s management team were directly responsible for Mr Lee’s death.

A HSE representative commented: "This was an entirely preventable tragedy. The dangers of baling machines are notorious in the industry but are still all too common. At Westwood Yarns, there was a common misunderstanding that isolation and lock-off at the mains were not required.

"No one seemed to appreciate fully how the baling machine worked from a safety perspective, so dangerous assumptions were made which led directly to Mr Lee’s death.

“The company fell well short of its duty to protect employees from a known hazard. Employees were working in a system that allowed poorly controlled work practices to develop, and ineffective monitoring meant these were not picked up and corrected.”

Helen Grieves, a local work accident claims specialist with Huddersfield-based Grieves Solicitors, commented: “As the HSE’s representative quite rightly points out, there is a common misunderstanding of the importance of health and safety procedure that is still prevalent in many UK industries.

“Managers and companies are responsible for the safety of their employees – when something goes wrong they are liable.

“At Grieves Solicitors, unfortunately, we see a lot of work related fatal injury claims. In such situations the victim’s family deserves to be compensated.”

Grieves Solicitors is a law firm that specialises in recovering work injury compensation for accident victims and their families. For more information about the company’s services, visit its dedicated website:


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