Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Failure of interlock checks causes crushed hand

RSM Industries Ltd.,  which makes metal components for the automotive industry was fined £19,300 (inc. costs) because of poor guard interlock checking after a worker's hand was crushed.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on a 160-tonne power press on 8 May 2013.
  • The machine had had new guards fitted but the interlock, which prevented the press from operating if the guards were anything other than fully closed, had not been correctly adjusted and set.
  • RSM's daily checks failed to pick up the fault with the guards on 12 separate occasions.
  • An agency worker had his hand in the machine removing finished pieces of metal when he accidentally hit the foot pedal, causing the machine to start up.
  • His right hand was crushed and he had to have three and a half fingers and half his palm amputated.

The HSE inspector said:
“The worker suffered life-changing injuries. He spent 35 hours in surgery undergoing seven different operations and is now severely disabled with the loss of his dominant hand. He has not been able to return to work and is still receiving treatment. Yet this incident was entirely preventable had the company thoroughly examined the machine before it was brought back into use and carried out adequate daily checks. The fact the fault was missed a dozen different times shows a complete lack of diligence.”

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