Accidents in the paper industry

The paper industry doesn't fall behind other industries. As its robotization advances, so does its production capacity. Unfortunately, not all modern machines are easy to secure. The human factor also adds to the difficulties, as evidenced by the following unfortunate accidents that happened recently in the industry.

According to Eurostat, about 3,000 people die in accidents in industrial plants across the European Union every year. Despite making every effort to prevent them, OHS specialists can at best open their eyes wide in amazement at the creativity of some workers in circumventing safety devices. The first case on the below list in particular serves as a tragic example.

Permanent injury as a result of an accident at a factory producing pulp products in Kostrzyn nad Odrą, Poland, 2019

A female employee wanted to clean a paper towel machine as its shafts had become soiled with glue. As a result of contact with the machine, she lost both hands. Initially, the cause of the accident was thought to be the failure of both safety systems that protected the machine. However, an investigation by the State Labor Inspectorate found that the cause was “the dismantling of the machine’s safety device, which allowed access to the danger zone.” What’s more, it was found that this safety device had not been in place for some time and that workers had been improperly trained in workplace safety.

How could Thermosafety help in this situation?

The undeniable advantage of our safety system is that an employee is unable to dismantle it. Shutting down or deactivating Thermosafety is only possible for technically knowledgeable employees.

In this situation, a worker entering the danger zone near the machine would cause it to stop operating. The worker would be able to safely remove the glue, and after she left the zone, the machine would restart. In this way, the production process would run smoothly and accident-free. [source]

Fatal accident at a packaging factory in Ostroleka, Poland, 2022

A worker was crushed by a pile turner. The circumstances under which the worker came into contact with the machine are being clarified. All that is known is that the man died shortly after being transported to the hospital as a result of injuries and suffocation caused by crushing his chest.

How could Thermosafety have helped in this situation?

Thermosafety safety system stops the machine or slows it down as soon as a person enters the danger zone. With a fast reaction time of up to 0.1 seconds, even if a person stumbles and falls into the machine, our system will stop its operation in time, preventing an accident. [source]

Fatal accident at a paper mill, Opole Voivodeship, Poland

A factory worker was pulled between the rollers of a plying machine. Due to a lack of witnesses and monitoring, the immediate causes of the accident are unknown. It is suspected that the pulling-in may have occurred as a result of the worker touching the paper while it was being wound on the rollers. The SLI inspector assessed that this was a common practice at the company. In addition, the plying machine was not properly secured – the cover lifted by hydraulic cylinders was missing.

How could Thermosafety help in this situation?

Due to the nature of its operation, Thermosafety would have stopped the machine whenever a worker appeared in the danger zone. The system would thus ensure the safety of workers and force supervisors to implement proper safety discipline on the production line. Due to frequent stops, the smoothness of production would be disrupted. This would result in greater motivation for managers to exercise increased supervision and caution. [source]

Permanent injury as a result of an accident at a packaging factory, Mazowieckie Voivodeship, Poland

The operator of a slot-cutting machine wanted to clean it of lingering cardboard residue. Unfortunately, he made a mistake during the cleaning process. As a result, the machine cut off three of his fingers. The SLI inspector noted that the machine “was not equipped with a protective device designed so that its removal, opening or shutting down would cause the machine or its dangerous components to stop immediately, or it would be impossible to remove or open the guard while the covered components were moving.” In addition to this, he listed several other negligences related to the protection of various elements of the slot-cutting machine.

How could Thermosafety help in this situation?

The worker, despite taking basic precautions (disconnecting the machine from the power source), made the mistake of pressing the power pedal. Adding to the causes of the unfortunate accident was the fact that the disconnect button was faulty, which the worker was unaware of. Thermosafety would have prevented the machine from starting, and consequently, the man would not have lost his fingers[source]

See also our case study on how to safeguard a slitting machine.