Monday, 28 April 2014

Company fined for inadequate guarding on several machines

Smithers-Oasis UK Ltd., of Tyne and Wear, was fined £14,630 (inc.costs) for inadequate guarding on several machines.
The circumstances were:
  • An incident occurred on 9 May 2012 on a milling machine
  • The operator suffered a partial amputation of her left middle finger and a broken left index finger.
  • The HSE stated that there were no measures on the machine to stop the operator getting close to moving parts.
  • The guarding fitted by Smithers-Oasis following the accident was considered to be not fully effective by the HSE.
  • The HSE also reached the same conclusion about other machines.
  • The HSE served an improvement notice and this was complied with.

The HSE inspector said:
“For a number of months employees at two sites had been put at risk of serious injuries due to Smithers-Oasis UK Ltd failing to prevent access to dangerous parts on a substantial number of machines. This was despite a worker’s injury and visits by HSE. These failings could have led to further injuries to workers including cuts, amputations and crush injuries. The company was simply lucky that a more serious incident to the one in May 2012 did not occur. Employers must take effective measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery. This will normally be by fixed guarding but where routine access is needed, interlocked guards (sometimes with guard locking) may be needed to stop the movement of dangerous parts before a person can reach the danger zone. Where this is not possible – such as with the blade of a circular saw – it must be guarded as far as is reasonably practicable and a safe system of work used.”

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