A health and safety inspector said a company had fallen ‘far short’ of what was expected of it before a worker at the Beccles factory died.

Nathan Hook, of Lowestoft, suffered a serious head injury during an industrial incident at Berry M&H Plastics in Beccles on October 7, 2021.

An inquest, which took place at Suffolk Coroner’s Court in Ipswich, heard evidence from health and safety inspector Natalie Prince who said the lack of training or refresher training company, and the failure to communicate work instructions and risk assessments, “were well below what one would expect for a company of this size.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Nathan Hook died after industrial incident at Berry M&H in BecclesNathan Hook died after an industrial incident at Berry M&H in Beccles (Image: Courtesy of Nathan Hook’s family)

The inquest had previously heard that Mr Hook was using a Colchester Mastiff 1400 lathe when his clothes got caught in the machine.

At the time of the incident, the 34-year-old was hand polishing a part using emery cloth – a method which was against company policy.

Eight members of staff were unaware of a work order prohibiting the use of emery cloth by hand on a lathe, the investigation found.

Ms Prince said: “We expect that an appropriate risk assessment will be carried out for the work in question.

“This risk assessment should identify the hazards, how they could harm someone and who, and their potential severity.

“This should inform a safe way of working and should be communicated to employees, along with checks to ensure they have understood.

“For some work equipment there is a legal training and refresher requirement. This does not apply to a lathe, but I would expect the company to do an assessment of the training that had been provided before, for example in college, and not to assume what was included in this training.”

Mr Hook’s supervisor, James Fisher, had previously said the investigation using emery cloth by hand on a lathe was ‘unacceptable and dangerous’.

Tooling engineer Anthony White, however, told jurors on Monday that the method was “standard practice”, although others disputed it.

The investigation, which is taking place before a jury, is continuing.


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