Tuesday 23 July 2013

Inadequate guarding allowed a worker's arm to become trapped

Inadequate guarding allowed a worker's arm to become  trapped in a machine at Superglass Insulation Ltd., who were subsequently fined £20,000.
The circumstances were:

  • The machine was a production line where fans drew trimmed edges of mineral wool insulation into ducting and recycled them back into the production process.
  • Two days before the accident,  the company had replaced one of the fans on the production line and re-located both it and the ducting on the floor next to the trimming mill guide roller. It was this section of ducting beneath the conveyor belt that was blocked.
  • On 25 November 2010 the trimmed edges of wool had become trapped inside the ducting.
  • Superglass Insulation Ltd had not carried out any risk assessment on the area of the production line where the injury occurred, although the company had previously identified the need to undertake a risk assessment for guarding the production lines.
  • Adequate guarding had not been put in place to prevent access to the area of the conveyor belt and roller and the area underneath.
  • The injured person, Scott Robinson, was trying to dislodge the blockage.
  • As Mr Robertson crouched under the machine his hi-vis vest became entangled in the conveyor belt and started to pull him head-first towards the roller. He put out his right hand to stop his head and body being drawn into the machine, and it was pulled into the in-running nip in the trimming mill guide roller, trapping it between the conveyor belt and the roller
The HSE Inspector said:
"This incident was entirely foreseeable and preventable. It would have been prevented by a proper risk assessment and the installation of adequate guarding. Guarding is essential to prevent fingers, hands and limbs from being drawn into the nip joint and this kind of hazard is well known and acknowledged in the design and operation of industrial machinery. Guarding should have been provided prior to re-routing the ducting as there was a clear risk of an operator being pulled, either by a limb or by their clothing, into the conveyor belt and roller."

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