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Saint-Gobain fined after employee suffers amputation

Tail-end drum

Life-changing injury results in £400,000 fine for Saint-Gobain Construction Products UK

SAINT-Gobain have been fined £400,000 after an employee suffered serious injuries, resulting in his left arm being amputated.

Loughborough Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 13 August 2017, a 48-year-old employee of Saint-Gobain Construction Products UK Ltd was seriously injured when a rock-handling belt failed at the company’s plant in Barrow upon Soar, Leicestershire.

Two employees had been clearing rock that had built up around the belt, but as the belt had become so compacted it was difficult to remove by hand. Both men went to the isolator end of the belt, removed the local isolation and, with the guards still off, pressed the start/stop button.

On checking the tail-end of the drum they saw it had still not cleared itself, so one of the men went to the opposite side of the tail-end drum to remove the rock, at which point the pair were no longer in visual contact. The other then pressed the start/stop button again whilst his colleague’s arm was in close proximity to the rotating drum and was drawn in.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was no risk assessment or safe system of work in place for clearing rock safely from tail-end drums.

Saint-Gobain Construction Products UK pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,945.62.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Michelle Morrison said: ‘This injury could easily have been prevented, had the risk been identified. Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimize the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.’

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