Dingwall Sheriff Court has fined a manufacturing company £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) informed the court that an employee had suffered severe burns whilst attempting to clear a blockage from a roller machine that heat treated carbon fibres.
The worker noticed that some material had become caught on a roller and with the aid of a colleague attempted to free the material from the machine. Whilst his left hand was in the machine, his colleague unaware that his hand was in the machine, instructed for the nip roller to be opened.
This caused the roller to tighten and trap the employee’s hand. In attempting to free his left hand, the worker scalded his right hand.
The employee was taken to hospital with severe burns requiring a skin graft and a week-long stay for convalescence.
The HSE investigation revealed that the worker was wearing appropriate protective equipment for his hands, and body but not forearms.
The court heard that the manufacturing company had installed guards on trapping points on some but not all machines and had neglected to risk assess those employees working close to the machine when a recovery was underway. Furthermore, the access to dangerous moving parts were controlled or stopped before workers underwent and recovery procedure.
After the case was heard, HSE Inspector Mac Young said:
“This incident was entirely foreseeable and therefore entirely preventable. Where an employee is able to gain access to dangerous moving parts, there is a risk of coming into contact with them.”