Employee’s glove became entangled in gap in production line…
An ice cream manufacturer based in North Yorkshire has been prosecuted after a factory worker at the firm broke his arm after it became trapped in the conveyor belt.
The 20-year-old accident victim was working on the production line at the plant in Leeming Bar when his glove became entangled in machinery and his arm was pulled into the conveyor belt. He eventually managed to wrestle his arm free but in the process he sustained two broken bones to his right arm as well as a dislocated wrist. He was not able to work for a period of six weeks while he recovered from his injuries.
The subsequent investigation by the HSE into the accident discovered that the ice cream company had removed a part of the line leaving a small gap in the conveyor belt. The accident victim entangled his glove in the machine because he had put his hand through that small gap to retrieve some trapped lids.
Northallerton Magistrates’ Court was told that the dangerous moving parts of the internal part of the conveyor belt were exposed and were not sufficiently guarded. The company also failed to carry out a risk assessment that took into account the changes in the production line.
The company was fined a total of £10,000 with £3,294 in costs after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and a second offence of contravening the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
HSE inspector Kate Dixon spoke after the hearing:
“I am pleased that the accident victim has made a full recovery, but many other employees sustain permanent disability or impairment because machine safety has been neglected.
“Unguarded or poorly guarded machinery is the cause of many injuries in workplaces across the country. Employees should not be exposed to risks to their safety through their everyday work.
“The company failed to make sure that the dangerous moving parts of the in-feed conveyor were not accessible by the workforce on the production line. This failure could have been addressed at minimal cost.
“They also failed re-assess the risk to workers after the change they made to the production line. Even temporary changes to machinery should be fully considered to make sure additional risks are identified and addressed.”
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