Thursday 27 June 2013

Worker's hand drawn into unguarded rollers on laminating machine

A Wellingborough firm has been fined for safety breaches after a worker’s hand was crushed in an unguarded laminating machine.

The circumstances were:
  • The incident, on 20 January 2012 occurred at The Paper Pallet Company Ltd 
  • The company uses recycled paper to make pallets
  • A honeycomb laminating machine was unguarded at several points, not just where the incident occurred.
  • The guarding over the gears and chains allowed access to dangerous moving parts.
  • Some of the emergency stops did not work properly.
  • The company had not carried out a risk assessment on the machine.
  • There was no safe system of work for cleaning the gluing rollers or for the operation, use and maintenance of the line.
  • An operator's right hand and forearm were drawn into gluing rollers of the machine.
  • He has had four operations and extensive physiotherapy but it is unlikely he will ever regain full movement in his hand.

Following the incident, the company introduced a light guard system, which shuts down the line if anyone breaks the beam to approach dangerous moving parts.

The Paper Pallet Company was fined £30,877 (inc. costs).

The HSE inspector said:
"This is a very serious case of a company neglecting its duty to supervise and protect its employees from potentially dangerous machinery. Basic risk assessments weren’t carried out and Mr Taylor was not given suitable instruction in how to use the machine safely. Even his supervisor had not been given appropriate health and safety training to allow him to discharge his responsibilities adequately. The Paper Pallet Company Ltd has now introduced measures that will cut the power to the machinery if anyone approaches dangerous moving parts. It’s just a shame this did not happen before their employee suffered such severe injuries."

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