Thursday, 5 February 2015

Worker loses arm in unguarded machinery

Farnbeck Ltd., an Edinburgh manufacturing company was fined £46,660 after a worker had to have his arm amputated after it became trapped in a machine.
The circumstances were:
  • The company had a machine with a rotating wooden cylinder used in the security printing industry.
  • Cotton fabric is wrapped around this cylinder.
  • This cylinder is exposed and for the last 30 years the company have allowed employees to be exposed to the hazard posed by this rotating cylinder.
  • Consequently no measures were put in place to minimise the risk or to change the systems of work.
  • On  5 June 2012 Akshay Phale, an employee, was attempting to wrap cotton fabric.
  • His fingers became trapped between the fabric and rotating cylinder.
  • He was unable to release his fingers due to the tension of the fabric around the cyclinder. 
  • As the cylinder rotated, it pulled his hand around it, causing his forearm to become trapped. 
  • The fabric was cut to ease the tension, but he was trapped for almost an hour until other employees, together with the fire service, were able to disconnect the motor and release his arm
  • He was taken to hospital where he underwent several operations over a 17-day period, including the amputation of his right forearm below the elbow. 
  • He required several months of physiotherapy and has sustained permanent scarring on his back, arm, leg and right hand. He has not yet been able to return to work.

The HSE inspector said:
“This incident was entirely foreseeable and therefore entirely preventable. Where an employee is able to gain access to dangerous moving parts, there is a risk of injury. Farnbeck Ltd should have identified the risk posed to workers on this particular machine and made sure the rotating cylinder was switched off prior to employees coming into close contact with it. This unsafe practice had been carried out for many years and it is fortunate that there have been no other serious incidents as a result.”

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