Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Arm crushed in unguarded roller

Littleport Mushroom Farm of  Ely was fined £14,700 (inc. costs) after a worker suffered crush injuries when his arm was caught in unguarded machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • Littleport purchased a specially-designed emptying machine.
  • They failed to identify that the machine’s roller was unguarded when they purchased it, and had therefore not provided guarding for the dangerous part of the machine.
  • On 25 January 2013 a worker was rolling a net and polythene sheet onto this machine.
  • The sheet dropped away. 
  • He attempted to tuck it back into the machine without stopping it but his left gloved hand became caught into the winding mechanism.
  • The machine continued to wind the net and sheet onto its roller, pulling the worker’s arm with it up to his shoulder. 
  • On hearing him shout, another employee ran to the machine and stopped it. He then used the reverse button to free the worker’s arm, which by then was crushed in several places.
  • The worker suffered a fracture to his left forearm and another to his upper arm, as well as bruising on the left hand side of his chest and back. He had to stay off work for over a year.
  • After the incident, the company fully enclosed the rotating part of the machine with fixed guarding fitted with a key exchange system.

The HSE Inspector said:
“The risks associated with unguarded winches or rollers are well-known in many industries, including agriculture. Incidents involving this type of machinery can cause serious, life-changing injuries, which is why onus is on employers to ensure that appropriate guards are in place to protect workers from dangerous moving parts. In this case, the worker needlessly suffered terrible injuries because, although the machine was CE marked, Littleport Mushroom Farm failed to comply with their duty to make sure that the machinery met the essential guarding requirements. There are several deaths and many more injuries each year due to incidents where workers have been using unguarded or poorly guarded machines, and most of these are easily prevented. Companies have a legal duty to ensure dangerous parts are effectively guarded before a machine is used, whether or not these are provided by the manufacturer.”

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