Friday, 21 November 2014

Lack of isolation procedure causes serious finger injuries

Lantmannen Unibake UK Ltd was fined £16,838 (inc.costs) after an employee suffered serious cuts to his fingers while cleaning a machine at its pastry manufacturing site.
The circumstances were:
  • No power isolation procedure was in place at the factory to allow machines to be cleaned in safety.
  • The employee was told to clean part of a machine including a metal hood housing an industrial extractor fan
  • Cleaning instructions were clear enough, leading him to think he had to clean an area of the machine where an inspection hatch, which restricted access to the fan blades, had recently been removed.
  • As he attempted to clean inside the hood, his left hand came into contact with the rotating fan blades, causing serious injuries to his little finger and ring finger.
  • He was unable to work for four months and then returned on light duties. He continues to have pain in his arm and shoulder and it is unclear whether full dexterity will return.    

The HSE said:
“The worker suffered a painful and needless injury that could easily have been avoided had there been proper safeguards and proper training in place. It is vital that staff working on production lines, whether to operate them, clean them or supervise their use, are properly trained, provided with accurate information and adequately supervised to ensure safe systems of work at all times. Lantmannen Unibake UK clearly failed in their duty of care to their staff.

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