Friday 4 April 2014

Failure to act on consultant's recommendations costs almost £50,000

Environmental Waste Recycling was fined £49,670 (inc.costs) after a worker almost lost his arm in machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on a heavy-duty conveyor belt.
  • A health and safety consultant hired by the company had reported the missing guards following inspections in November 2008 and June 2010.
  • The company had failed to act on his recommendations.
  • After returning from his lunch break on 7 August 2013, the worker switched the power to the machine back on. 
  • He then walked through an 800 mm-wide gap by the side of the machine.
  • His arm was caught by the roller under the conveyor belt and dragged in. 
  • He called for help and one of his colleagues turned off the electrical supply but it took the emergency services 90 minutes to free him.
  • His arm was broken in several places and he lost a considerable amount of muscle tissue.

The HSE Inspector  said:
“The injuries suffered by this young worker have had a massive impact on his life, and he still requires hospital treatment. He has been unable to return to work and relies on his parents and family for support. It’s shocking that Environmental Waste Recycling was first made aware of the missing guards by its own health and safety consultant nearly five years before the incident but it failed to act on this, even when the issue was highlighted again in 2010. The firm should have carried out a proper assessment of the risks facing workers, and fitted guards to prevent access to the rollers on the conveyor belt. Instead, it waited for an employee to be seriously injured before taking any action.”

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