Friday 21 February 2014

Removed guarding causes broken arm

One of the country’s largest plastic recycling plants, MBA Polymers UK Ltd, in north Nottinghamshire, has been fined £10,851 (inc. costs) on 14 February 2014 after a worker suffered a broken arm when it became caught in machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • The worker was working alone on a night shift on 2 May 2012 in an area at the top of the factory when the incident happened.
  • He was checking on an auger, a spiral which pushes materials through a metal tube.
  • There was a lack of guarding on this part of the equipment. Guards had been removed and not replaced, leaving the rotating parts unguarded.
  • His sleeve got caught on a bolt protruding from the electric motor driving the auger spiral. 
  • This twisted his sleeve so severely it acted like a tourniquet and broke his arm. 
  • At the same time, the twisted clothing broke the motor driveshaft and the worker was able to cut himself free and call for help.

The HSE inspector said:
“This man suffered very serious injuries to his arm but had he not been fortunate enough to be able to free himself, it could easily have resulted in amputation. Incidents involving entanglement on rotating machinery can be easily avoided if suitable guarding is maintained. The guarding defects had been raised by employees and MBA Polymers was aware of the situation, so there is no excuse for failing to take action.”

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