Friday 19 July 2013

Drinks company fined after major injury in poorly guarded machine

Brothers Drinks Co Ltd., has been fined £22,859 (inc. costs) on 18th July 2013 for safety breaches after an employee severed an artery in an unguarded machine.
The circumstances were:
  • Brothers Drinks had made modifications to the access to a depalletiser, which takes empty bottles off a conveyor to be filled.
  • However, they had failed to install an interlocking device or guard to prevent workers accessing the machinery while it was still active.
  • The injured man did not usually work at that machine and was covering for a colleague at the time of the incident. 
  • He had been given no additional training or information about the machine on which he was asked to work.
  • He went to investigate the cause of a stoppage in the depalletiser machine during the evening shift on 12 July 2012
  • Just as he put his hand into the machine, it automatically restarted, catching his clothing and pulling his right arm into the moving parts.
  • Although he managed to pull his arm free it was badly cut in several places and an artery in his bicep was severed.
  • He needed three operations, one of which was described by the hospital as ‘life and limb saving’ surgery.

The HSE Inspector  said:
"This entirely preventable incident could have led to the employee’s death and has left him in a great deal of pain. Had the equipment been properly risk assessed by Brothers Drinks Co Ltd after the modifications had been made, the absence of an interlock would have been identified. The need for proper guarding, training and the use of safe systems of work are vital for all employers to prevent similar incidents. There is plenty of information freely available from the HSE about the practical measures that must be taken to ensure safety."

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