A Health & Safety inspector has told the Deco-Pak trial of her concerns about the robotic machine that had fatally crushed an employee and a Mosca wrapping machine at the factory.

Sarah Taylor was giving evidence at Bradford Crown Court about her visit to the factory the day after maintenance engineer Andrew Tibbott was killed by an RM packaging machine.

The jury has heard that Mr Tibbott, 48, was pinned by the lifting arm to a conveyor belt after he walked through a gap in the safety fencing at the garden landscaping supplies firm on Halifax Road, Hipperholme.

Deco-Pak denies the corporate manslaughter of Mr Tibbott who died on Good Friday, 2017.

Company directors, Rodney Slater, 62, of Wellbank View, Rochdale, and Michael Hall, 64, of Hullen Edge Lane, Elland, plead not guilty to Mr Tibbott’s manslaughter by gross negligence.

Deco-Pak and Hall have admitted failing to ensure that employees were not exposed to risk. Slater denies that charge.

Miss Taylor said the perimeter fencing on the RM machine was incomplete with gaps wide enough for a person to pass through.

A red gate had no interlock to prevent access when the machine was running or to shut it down if someone passed through it when it was working.

The jury again watched CCTV footage of Mr Tibbott pressing buttons and then entering the RM packaging machine’s robotic cell to clean or adjust a sensor.

The court has heard that he was working alone at the factory in close proximity to the robotic arm when it started up.

Miss Taylor said that racking, or industrial shelving, at the factory was not in the best condition and the pallet management was poor. Damaged pallets in circulation could collapse when loaded, she explained.

A Mosca wrapping machine had a disconnected interlock gate held closed by stepladders to stop it swinging open. That meant that people could potentially come into contact with dangerous moving parts, Miss Taylor said.

She said the directors told her the Mosca machine was second-hand and bought in that condition and it was not fully commissioned.

It wasn’t unusual to see a second-hand machine in that condition but it posed a risk to maintenance engineers and production operatives.

Other robotic machines at the factory did have complete guards, Miss Taylor said.

Notices were served on the company about the RM and Mosca machines having “defeated” interlock systems.

The jury has heard that Mr Tibbott had been working for the company for six weeks when he was killed.

Prosecutor Allan Compton QC has accused Deco-Pak of encouraging a culture of produc-tion at all costs, putting the lives of employees at risk.

The trial continues.