Friday, 20 June 2014

Company fined over £30,000 for isolation failings

GBN Services Ltd., an Essex waste and recycling company was fined £30,777(inc. costs) on 19th June 2014 after a worker suffered crush injuries when his arm was caught in an unguarded moving conveyor belt.
The circumstances were:
  • GBN Services, which has five recycling sites, had failed to implement its own isolation and lock-off procedures at this site.
  • The company had previously been served with a number of enforcement notices, including one for a similar guarding failing at another site.
  • On 29 May 2013, a worker was attempting to realign the in-feed conveyor belt on a
    newly-installed waste separating machine. 
  • Power to the machine had been turned off and a protective guard removed to enable access to the belt.
  • After finishing the task, the worker reactivated the power to the machine without refitting the guard.
  • His left arm was drawn in between the two belts, and he suffered crush injuries.

The HSE Inspector said:
“Incidents involving unguarded machinery are all too common and the onus is on employers to ensure safe and robust systems of work are in place to protect workers from dangerous moving parts of machinery. GBN Services failed to heed previous advice from HSE relating to conveyor guarding at its other sites. There are several deaths and 40,000 injuries each year due to incidents where workers have been using machines, and most of these are easily prevented. Guards and safety systems are required for a reason, and companies have a legal duty of care to ensure they up to scratch and working effectively at all times. In this case, it was not even necessary to remove the conveyor guard to adjust the belt as the design meant the belt could be adjusted with the guard still in place. However, the worker was not aware as staff had not been trained to repair or maintain the machine.”

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