Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Jaw shattered by material being cut by bandsaw

Kingsnorth Waste Management, a Kent recycling firm, was fined £10,000 (inc.costs) after an employee had his jaw shattered when he was hit by a piece of plastic pipe ejected from a bandsaw.
The circumstances were:
  • A bandsaw was used to cut across cylindrical material.
  • Kingsnorth Waste Management had not identified the added risks of this operations, such as the rotation and ejection of pieces from the saw. 
  • There were no measures, such as the use of jigs clamps or wedges, to allow the machine to be more safely used.
  • On 11 August 2010, a worker was using a bandsaw to cut pipe 50 cm long, 30 cm in diameter and 2 cm thick.
  • As he fed the domed section of the pipe into the bandsaw, the teeth of the blade stuck into the plastic, rotated it round the domed end and ejected it. 
  • The piece was thrown out at high speed and struck him in his throat and under his chin. It broke both upper and lower jaw bones and burst his jaw hinges.
  • He had undergone a number of operations, including a bone graft from his hip, over the past four years to reconstruct his jaw. He still suffers from a continual feeling of ‘pins and needles’ caused by irreparable nerve damage, and has problems eating.
  • After the incident, there were two further instances of plastic pipe being ejected as it was being sawn and striking the operators. 
  • As a result, a prohibition notice was served on Kingsnorth Waste Management preventing any further use of the bandsaws for cutting this sort of material.

The HSE Inspector said:
“Kingsnorth Waste Management should have properly investigated how the bandsaws operated and fully understood the risks of use that were outlined in the instruction manual. That simple exercise would have demonstrated the need to put effective controls in place to safeguard their employees. The use of simple clamps or wedges, or the use of alternative cutting equipment, would have allowed the job to be safely carried out and avoided the life-changing injuries that this worker suffered. In addition, it would have not put others – including a teenager – in danger. Waste processing and recycling is a high-risk industry which has a disproportionately large share of fatal and serious injuries. Both individual companies and the industry collectively, must improve the way that health and safety, both of employees and the public, is managed.”

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