Thursday 28 November 2013

Lack of system to isolate machine causes near-death injuries

Hunter Wilson Ltd, a Dumfries wood machining company , was fined £44,000 after a worker was caught in moving machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • The equipment on which the accident occurred was a log haul.
  • In 2007 the company installed an automated scraper system to scrape fallen debris.
  • This consisted of two horizontal cross sections of steel, or scraper bars, that moved slowly on a continuous loop along the concrete platforms under each of the log hauls, scraping debris and pushing it off the end of the platforms where it could be safely collected.
  •  However, the system was not able to clear all of the debris, resulting in employees still having to go under the log haul platforms to manually clear out the remaining debris at the end of each day.
  • The company failed to provide fixed guarding enclosing the machine’s dangerous parts and interlocking guarding to stop dangerous parts moving before a worker entered the danger zones.
  • The company also failed to provide effective supervision in order to prevent its employees from entering danger zones while dangerous parts were moving,
  • At the end of each working day one of Steven Cairns’ duties was to clean the areas below two log hauls, where debris such as bark and branches had fallen.
  • On the day of the incident Mr. Cairns was clearing debris from under the log haul when one of the moving scraper bars came from behind him and crushed his pelvis against the base of a step feeder machine. It then continued on, dragging him through a shear point where the bar passed under the base of the machine.
  • He managed to drag himself free and was discovered shortly after by colleagues who responded to his screams.

The HSE Inspector said:
“This incident was entirely preventable. Hunter Wilson Ltd had identified the scraper system as a risk to employees, however, the company failed to apply the hierarchy of control measures provided by Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, which requires employers to provide fixed guarding enclosing dangerous moving parts of machinery, to the extent that it is practicable to do so, before moving on to consider a safe system of work. Had fixed guards been in place to physically prevent access, then employees would not have been exposed to the risk from the dangerous moving bars of the scraper system. As a consequence of this breach, Mr Cairns suffered horrific injuries from which he will never fully recover.”

No comments:

Post a Comment