Friday 12 July 2013

Worker loses fingers at brewery

A Dorset brewery has been prosecuted for safety breaches after an employee lost two fingers in unguarded machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • Hall and Woodhouse had re-located the grain dust extractor at their brewery in Blandford.
  • Operatives had been tasked with emptying it when necessary.
  • Hall and Woodhouse had failed to identify the risks associated with the grain dust extractor in its new location. 
  • It was foreseeable that employees would try to deal with a blockage if one occurred and an alternative system should have been provided to prevent access by workers to dangerous moving parts.
  • A worker was trying to clear a blockage in a grain dust extractor during a night shift on 27 August 2012.
  • He reached into the chute of the extractor to dislodge the build-up, but his right hand made contact with the rotary valve, which was still running. His middle and index fingers were severed.
Hall & Woodhouse Ltd.  was fined £16,000 (inc. costs).
The HSE Inspector said:
"An employee has suffered painful and needless injuries because of the failure by Hall & Woodhouse Ltd. to put simple safety measures in place. This was an incident that could have easily been prevented by carrying out a suitable assessment of the risks presented by the new location of the extractor. This would have identified the need for guarding to prevent access to the dangerous rotary valve within the chute. The company should also have provided employees with information and instruction on how they wished potential blockages within the extractor to be dealt with. In the absence of these measures, an employee has suffered a serious injury.

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