Monday 14 October 2013

Company fails to act on saw guarding and employee severs tendons.

Kierbeck Thames Ltd., of Barking fined £14,000 (inc. costs) after an employee severed the tendons in his hand on an unguarded saw blade.

The circumstances were:
  • The company was served with a Prohibition Notice in May 2011 after another horizontal band saw was found to be inadequately guarded.
  • The standard of machinery guarding across the site was flagged as being a cause for concern, and the company was urged to make wholesale improvements and carry out regular checks in addition to making the offending saw safe.
  • The company had failed to make significant improvements.
  • 23 February 2012, a worker was using a horizontal band saw to cut down metal bars. 
  • The system of work for cutting down the bars was unsafe because it required employees to work close to dangerous moving parts. 
  • The cutting blade could have been better guarded or other measures imposed to keep workers at a safe distance.
  • He had climbed onto a bench at the back of the saw to undo clips and chains that held a bundle of bars together, but as he moved away he slipped and his right hand went into the machine.
  • The cutting blade was unguarded at this point and it sliced into his hand.
  • He needed a five-hour operation to repair the damage.

The HSE Inspector said:
“It is extremely disappointing that it took a worker to sustain a serious hand injury for Kierbeck Thames Ltd to finally acknowledge its guarding failings. The company was well aware that an incident was inevitable unless improvements were made, and yet our enforcement action and safety advice were seemingly ignored. Adequate safeguards must be in place to protect employees from dangerous moving parts, and the onus is on employers to instigate improvements on a proactive basis.”

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