Friday 7 June 2013

Finger lost due to lack of guarding

An employee of Ardagh Metal Packaging lost his finger on an unguarded part of machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • The machine had been supplied by Crabtree without adequate guarding
  • Ardagh failed to identify the risks to workers from the unguarded conveyor
  • The employee, Brain Allen, was feeding the metal sheets into the conveyor of a coating machine when his wedding ring got caught and his finger was severed.

Ardagh Metal Packaging (UK) Ltd, was fined £21,754 (inc costs) after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Crabtree of Gateshead Ltd, was fined £17,570 (inc. costs) after pleading guilty breaching of Regulation 11(1) of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992.

The HSE Inspector said:
"Brian Allen sustained a painful injury as a result of an incident that was entirely avoidable. Risk assessments by Crabtree identified that the conveyor could cause injury and a warning was included in the operating manual, but they nonetheless supplied the machine without adequate guarding. Ardagh, meanwhile, failed to identify the risk despite the practice of hand feeding sheets into the conveyor being well known to operators. This case demonstrates the need for employers to carry out their own assessment of the risks posed by machinery, based on the circumstances in which the equipment will be used. It is not sufficient to assume that is safe as soon as it is purchased. Involving workers in the risk assessment process is crucial. Had the employees been consulted by either company it would have been apparent that hand feeding of sheets onto the conveyor took place. This would have alerted Ardagh and Crabtree to the need for adequate guarding, which has now been installed."

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