Maintenance workers endangered employees by leaving machine unguarded…
A flooring company has been fined after one of their employees was seriously injured after being dragged into an unguarded machine at their factory in Manchester.
The incident occurred on 17 May 2011 at the plant on Radcliffe New Road and the subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) led to the prosecution of the company after a series of safety failings were uncovered.
The 43-year-old accident victim from Sale was working a night shift when the conveyor belt that he had been working on became jammed. Maintenance workers attempted to repair the fault but ended up removing the guards from the machine so that it could continue to operate. The male worker was injured when he tried to use a spanner to prevent the belt from rubbing when his arm became trapped and he was dragged into the machine. He had to be cut free by colleagues and he sustained injuries including a broken arm which required him to take seven weeks off work in order to recuperate fully.
The flooring manufactuer was deemed to be guilty of a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 for being negligent in their duty to carry out safety checks on their machinery in a safe manner and endangering the health of their own employees. The company was fined £7,500 in addition to £34,000 in prosecution costs.
HSE Inspector Emily Osborne commented after the hearing had concluded:
“The employee was lucky to escape with a broken arm. His injuries could have been much worse.
“The company should never have allowed workers to be put at risk by letting them carry out maintenance work to the machine while it was still operating.
“It has since installed a new safety system on the conveyor belt which makes it impossible for it to be run when the guards have been removed.”
The HSE report that even though just 10% of British workers are in the manufacuring sector, a quarter of workplace deaths occur in the industry and because of this higher incidence of wokrplace deaths it is especially important for companies in the sector to follow safety protocols rigorously.
Author: Julian Roberts
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