Pinden Ltd prosecuted after worker loses arm
Featured in24 May 2012 - 16:44
Kent-based company fined £10,000 for safety failings that led to the loss of an employee’s limb
WASTE-management and recycling company Pinden Ltd have been fined £10,000 for safety failings after a worker lost most of his arm on an unguarded conveyor system at a quarry in Kent.
Agency employee Vladislavs Golovacs was attempting to clear a blockage at Pinden Quarry, near Dartford, when the incident occurred on 20 December 2010.
Dartford Magistrates heard that a conveyor belt used to transfer waste into a sorting shed was juddering and vibrating, making sorting difficult, after a drive roller was blocked by stone.
Mr Golovacs, a Latvian national who was contracted to work for quarry owners Pinden Ltd, should have stopped the machine before removing the debris.
Instead, he attempted to remove the stones with the power still running and his left arm became trapped and was torn off with extreme force, leaving just a quarter of the limb intact.
Mr Golovacs was airlifted to hospital for an emergency operation but surgeons were unable to reattach his arm. He has been unable to return to work since the incident.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found there was no guarding in place to prevent access to dangerous moving parts on the conveyor. Mr Golovacs had also received no training on how to safely clear blockages.
Pinden Ltd, who pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for these failings, were fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £11,506 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Andrew McGill said: ‘This was a horrific incident that was entirely preventable had appropriate guarding been fitted, and had Mr Golovacs been properly trained in how to clear a blockage.
‘He knows to his cost that dangerous moving parts should be properly restricted when in operation, and isolated if access is required. However, it was the responsibility of Pinden Ltd to ensure that happened – which it clearly didn’t on this occasion.
‘Safe systems of work must be of paramount importance at all times.’