Factory boss killed by machine

Felt Supplies, Wharfedale Business Park, Edward Street, Tong, Bradford...10th October 2013.Picture by Simon Hulme
Felt Supplies, Wharfedale Business Park, Edward Street, Tong, Bradford...10th October 2013.Picture by Simon Hulme

The owner of a textile firm died after he was dragged into machinery while removing debris with a metal bar, an inquest heard.

Nasir Hussain, of Ravens Avenue, Ravensthorpe, suffered fatal injuries after attempting to remove a blockage while the carding machine - which is used as part of the felt manufacturing process - was still running.

The 36-year-old, who was managing director of Felt Supplies Limited in Bradford, was crushed by the heavy-duty piece of machinery at 7.30am on February 1 last year. Health and Safety Executive inspector Jacqueline Ferguson told Bradford Coroner’s Court on Wednesday that they had found persistent evidence of employees breaching safety regulations, with 78 incidents recorded in 10 the days before the fatal incident.

The inquest jury watched CCTV footage, which included an employee having two fingers amputated by a machine on January 23 last year. Miss Ferguson said: “There was evidence of unsafe practices taking place and operations taking place when the machines were running.

“It was not a safe system of work.” The jury heard that Mr Hussain had

begun work at an earlier time of 6am due to a high intensity of orders.

Mr Hussain’s brother, Wazir Hussain, told the court the machine rollers, which are replaced every six months, were not performing productively.

He said: “The machine was not playing ball and the staff cut more corners than they would normally do.”

After problems with the carding machine, Nasir Hussain breached safety regulations to attend to the machine.

Three heavy-duty machines at the firm are surrounded by a fence, which uses a multi-lock system to prevent employees from entering when they are switched on.

However, Nasir Hussain used a spare key to breach the system and began clearing the blockage with a metal bar.

His jacket got entangled in the machine, which dragged him into the roller.

Nasir Hussain was pronounced dead at the scene despite colleagues racing to his aid.

Consultant pathologist Dr Karen Ramsden, who carried out the post-mortem examination, said: “Mr Hussain suffered disruption of the spinal cord and died from the effects of trauma.”

The Health and Safety Executive issued an improvement notice on the poly line machine, which killed Mr Hussain.

Miss Ferguson said: “We issued the notice to stop the machine being used and the Health and Safety Executive took the spare key.”

Specialist mechanical engineer Michael Rayner told the court it was rare for firms to obtain a spare key from the manufacturers.

Following an inspection from the Health and Safety Executive last October, Miss Ferguson said there were no outstanding improvement notices.

Wazir Hussain, now managing director of the Bradford firm, said: “We do not have any of the spare keys and any workers near the machines will now get a strict dismissal.”

The jury, of seven women and four men, unanimously delivered a verdict of misadventure.

Assistant Deputy Coroner Dr Dominic Bell said: “The gates were open while machines were running and staff used bars on that machinery.

“More significantly, there is evidence of serious injury being undertaken during those efforts to get it working.

“It was a clear breach of health and safety regulations.”