Monday 17 March 2014

Company fined £18,200 for overridden interlock

Sika Ltd., a Welwyn Garden City manufacturing firm was fined £18,200 (inc. costs) on 14th March 2014 after an agency worker suffered a hand injury whilst clearing a blockage on a poorly-guarded palletiser machine.
The circumstances were:
  • The incident happened on 12 October 2012 on a palletiser.
  • Sika Ltd had failed to properly assess the risks from using the palletiser. 
  • In addition insufficient training and instruction had been provided to workers, and their supervision was inadequate.
  • Machine guarding was inadequate to prevent access to the dangerous parts of the machine.  Specifically, an interlock had been overridden.
  • A blockage had occurred and the injured person was clearing the blockage via the open guard with the overridden interlock. 
  • As he restarted the palletiser, his hand, which was resting on the top frame of the machine, was struck by a moving part which operated the claw mechanism.
  • He suffered multiple fractures of his hand and lacerations and was unable to return to work to perform a similar role for several months.

The HSE Inspector  said:
“Sika Ltd failed to implement effective measures to ensure workers were not exposed to dangerous parts of machinery. They failed to properly assess the risks, ensure the machine was adequately guarded, and that workers were effectively supervised. This has resulted in a worker suffering a serious injury which has greatly impacted on his ability to work. The hazards from automated machinery, notably palletisers, are well known and there is a history of serious and fatal accidents occurring at palletiser machinery. Clearing blockages can lead to sudden start-up or movement of machinery so adequate guarding and isolation procedures are essential.”

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