Telford firm fined after worker’s hand severely injured
Featured in24 May 2012 - 16:42
Sand and gravel supplier prosecuted for safety failings after employee has three tendons severed
SALOP Sand & Gravel Supply Co. Ltd have been fined for safety failings after an employee had three tendons in his hand severed.
Jamie Roden was trying to clear a blockage in a machine used to bag quarried material when his hand was caught by a dangerous heat-sealing device with a blade inside.
Mr Roden had only been employed by the company for four months when the incident happened at Wildmoor Quarry, near Bromsgrove, in Worcestershire, on 15 September 2011.
Redditch Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Roden was attempting to clear the blockage by opening the doors on a form, fill and seal bagging machine, but because an interlock system to cut the power supply when the doors were opened did not work, the machine kept running and the heat sealer slammed on to his left hand, severing the tendons.
Mr Roden was unable to return to work due to his injuries and has since left the company.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Salop Sand & Gravel Supply Co. Ltd after an investigation revealed a number of failings which allowed Mr Roden to access the machine while it was still powered.
According to the HSE, a machine guard had been available since 2007 but had not been fitted and the firm had failed to ensure the interlocks on the doors were sufficiently maintained. Moreover, suitable and sufficient risk assessment had not been carried out.
After the hearing HSE inspector David Evans said: ‘This incident could have been easily avoided if simple measures had been taken by the company. These include fitting a machine guard, which, in fact, had been available at the company since 2007, and maintaining the interlocks.
‘On the day of the incident, because the interlocks on the door hinges had not been maintained, the doors could be opened while still powered. The opening on to the conveyor was also excessively large, which meant that it was possible for Mr Roden or other employees to reach into this gap without the doors being opened at all.
‘What is particularly alarming is that these sorts of blockages happened on a regular basis – up to 20 times during a 12h shift – so the company was aware but didn’t take sufficient action to protect its employees.’
Salop Sand & Gravel Supply Co. Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £3,300 and ordered to pay costs of £3,491.