'I kept asking doctors, “Am I going to die”' Horror of pretty factory employee scalped by conveyor belt after being dragged in by her hair and scarfKelly Nield was dragged into machinery at factory in North Wales in 2009Recalled how she coughed up blood and thought she would not survive
Company forced to pay 60,000 fine after admitting it was at fault
13:53 GMT, 17 January 2013
10:57 GMT, 18 January 2013
Injuries: Kelly Nield had her hair ripped out while working at a factory; she is pictured before the accident
A factory worker who suffered
life-changing injuries after being dragged into a conveyor belt has
spoken out about her horrific ordeal.
Kelly Nield recalled how she was 'coughing up blood' as she felt herself pulled into the mechanism – but the factory floor was so busy that nobody noticed the accident.
After being rushed to hospital, she feared her injuries would prove fatal, and asked doctors, “Am I going to die”'
Mainetti UK, the company which owned the factory on Deeside in North Wales, was yesterday hit with a huge fine over the incident, which left Miss Nield spending three months in hospital.
The firm was forced to pay out 60,000 and meet costs of 21,600 after being faced with four charges brought by the Health and Safety Executive relating to the 'horrific accident' which took place in April 2009.
In a statement, Miss Nield, now 24, revealed the full horror of the incident.
'I was in total shock so I couldn't feel much pain to begin with but I was panic-stricken,' she said. 'I knew I was in trouble. I started banging on the belt and shouting for help.'
'I was coughing up blood and thinking, “Oh my god, oh my god.” It all happened so fast. I could see my finger dangling there and I couldn't breathe, but the factory was noisy and nobody had seen it happen.
'Then my friend spotted me and ran to press the main off button, but as I watched her it felt like it all happened in slow motion. A workman raced over and found some scissors to cut the scarf but my throat immediately began to swell up and I couldn't speak.
'I was very gurgly and I could hardly breathe. I remember feeling very weak and wanting to sleep. Later I kept asking doctors, “Am I going to die”'
Miss Nield was working at the coat hanger factory for 7 an hour when she leaned forward to free some hangers which were caught in the machinery.
Her scarf became entangled in the cogs of a conveyor belt, which then dragged in her hair.
As she tried to free herself her hand was caught in the machine, trapping her little finger and almost severing it.
After the accident she sustained serious injuries to the neck and throat, lost much of her hair and fractured her finger.
Miss Nield was taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital, where she remained for three months while undergoing a series of operations.
She now has disabling injuries and has been fitted with a stomach peg to feed her liquids because she is unable to swallow, as well as suffering from flashbacks and trauma, prosecutor Simon Parrington told Mold Crown Court.
Responsible: Mainetti UK has admitted its culpability for the horrific incident in 2009
Judge Niclas Parry said
that it was 'an accident waiting to happen', adding that Miss Nield's
horrific injuries were entirely foreseeable due to Mainetti's lax safety
said that the company failed to provide proper instruction, prevent
access to dangerous parts of the machinery or install an emergency stop
button on the factory floor.
Nield, an agency worker, had watched a 15-minute training DVD, but was
not warned about the dangers of working with conveyors before she
started doing so.
Her accident came on the first day she worked on the conveyor line, when she 'had to rely on her fellow workers to show her what to do', according to Mr Parrington.
Simon Antrobus, defending, said that the company officials wished to apologise to Miss Nield and added that the firm accepted full responsibility for her ordeal.
'It does not seek to evade responsibility or pass the buck,' he said.
He claimed the accident was a result of workers failing to follow the company's own safety procedures, but admitted that managers should have rectified this failure.
Mr Antrobus added that Mainetti had a good safety record and had recently moved to a new factory in North Wales with updated procedures.
He also pointed to the company's charity work and good reputation among its own employees as mitigation.