Paper Company Fined £13,500 after Worker Crushed by Reel of Paper

Overview of incident

An employee of a Hertfordshire-based company suffered multiple crush injuries when he was struck by a 3.2 tonne reel of paper while on-site at it’s premises in Essex.

Whilst being inside of a container, the man was helping to load a reel of paper from a fork lift. The fork lift released the reel which trapped the man between the reel and the bulkhead of the container.

The accident resulted in multiple injuries which included a double fracture to his pelvis and internal injuries. The injured person remained in hospital for almost a month and will need to go under a series of surgeries.

The resulting investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the company had failed to act on advice from its own health and safety consultants for three consecutive years from 2010. The consultants advised of the need to carry out a proper risk assessment and introduce a safe system of work for loading paper reels.

Details of fine

The company was fined £13,500 and ordered to pay £1,200 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Injured Person(s)

Unknown, 45 years of age

Company Involved

Aspenlink Ltd


Essex, England


Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court


This was an entirely avoidable incident. The dangers associated with paper reels, in particular the risks associated with their loading and unloading, are well-known in the industry and entirely foreseeable.

Aspenlink was first made aware of the numerous shortcomings in its management of health and safety by its own health and safety consultant in 2010 – some three years before the incident – but it failed to act on this advice.

The company should have carried out proper assessment of the risks facing workers. Instead, it waited for an employee to be seriously injured before taking any action.

– HSE Inspector Keith Waller