The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has successfully prosecuted a West Midlands based materials company after a 40 year old employee from Stourbridge sustained serious crush injuries to his hand.
The worker was removing chocks from a bed of a plate saw which was undergoing some maintenance. The beam fell onto the employee’s hand causing significant injuries which required a three month period off work.
The case was heard at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court who fined the firm £10,000 with £940.50 costs after admitting a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
After the case was heard, HSE Inspector Paul Cooper said:
“[The company] should have spent time working out a safe working methods for all maintenance tasks, especially those which were routine. There were no written risk assessments or safe systems of work in place.
“The company should also have made sure that the engineers were given the necessary training on the machines and the information they needed to operate them. Instead, they were given nothing and expected to learn as they went along.
“Since the incident the firm has brought in service engineers to do the most intricate maintenance work and arranged for those engineers to give the employees training on the machines. Had they done this before, a worker could have been spared a painful injury.”
An approved code of practice and guidance aimed at those with responsibility for work equipment can be downloaded free from the HSE website athttp://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l22.htm