Liverpool

St Helens woman scalped and lost ear and thumb in factory machine

Cheshire Mouldings Image copyright Google
Image caption Cheshire Mouldings had four previous health and safety convictions

A woman was scalped and had her thumb amputated after her hair was trapped in a machine at a flooring and mouldings factory, a court has heard.

Karolina Lubieniecka, 29, suffered life-changing injuries, including the loss of her left ear, at Cheshire Mouldings & Woodturnings in June 2016.

The court heard the "horrific" incident happened as she cleaned the machine.

The St Helens firm was fined £474,000 at Liverpool Crown Court while director Paul Carney was ordered to pay £54,211.

Both the company and Carney, of Springburn Gardens in Woolston, Warrington were both convicted of health and safety offences.

The day before the incident, staff had reported how the machine had been blocking up to 50 times an hour, the court was told.

Part of the production line was shut down and Miss Lubieniecka was sent to clean it.

'Most horrific experience'

The company had already been convicted of four health and safety offences, including one in which a woman lost three fingers while being trained how to use a machine.

On the morning of Miss Lubieniecka's incident, the court heard that manager Ian Latham had been fired after a "falling out" with 50-year-old Carney.

In a statement, Mr Latham said he had raised concerns about site safety.

Miss Lubieniecka, who had worked at the company for eight months, faces many more years of treatment - including plastic surgery - to try to repair the damage she has suffered, her solicitor said.

"Karolina has amazed us all as to how she has coped with what has been the most horrific experience", said Tim Beasley, from Levenes Solicitors.

"She remains optimistic for the future in spite of the ordeal she has gone through."

A compensation claim has been lodged with the High Court.

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