Friday, 21 November 2014

Worker trapped in laundry machinery because of lack of interlock

Cleantex Ltd., a Telford laundry company, was fined £8,250 (inc. costs) after a worker got caught in machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • tunnel batch washing machine machine had inadequate interlocking.
  • The gate to the dangerous area was neither fixed in place nor interlocked. 
  • The other access door was fitted with an interlock.
  • Matthew Brown, an employee, tried to retrieve an item of clothing.
  • He thought that all movement of the machine had been stopped when he entered the vertical shuttle conveyor belt area.
  • While he was inside, a moveable conveyor belt unit above his head completed its cycle and began to return to ground level, trapping Mr Brown against the floor.
  • He suffered a broken ankle which required emergency surgery and fractures to four vertebrae. He spent nine days in hospital and was off work for seven months while recuperating and completing a course of physiotherapy. He has since returned to work on light duties.

The HSE inspector said:
“At the early stages of his working life,  Mr Brown’s future has been severely affected by the serious injuries he sustained as a result of Cleantex failing to effectively prevent access to dangerous moving machinery. If the gate used by Mr Brown to access the area had had an interlock fitted to it, like the access door to the front of the machine, this incident could easily have been avoided. Cleantex Ltd failed to take simple steps to prevent its workforce from accessing dangerous moving parts of machinery. Companies need to ensure that suitable and sufficient safe systems of work, information, instruction and training are in place to manage and control the risks posed to their employees.”

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