Friday, 29 May 2015

Shred-it fined over £19,000 after new worker loses parts of fingers in shredding machine

Manchester company Shred-it Limited, was fined £19,485 (inc.costs) after an new employee was injured by a shredding machine.
The circumstances were:
  • The paper shredder at its Iver, Bucks., plant had inadequate guarding.
  • On 31 December 2013 Stuart Rolls, who had only worked for Shred-it Limited for two weeks, was alone in the shredder compartment. 
  • He tried to free a piece of paper by reaching into the shredder. 
  • His right hand came into contact with the shredder knives. 
  • He lost a finger, part of his thumb and the top of another finger.

Welland Medical fined after 2 accidents due to poor guarding

Welland Medical Ltd., a medical equipment manufacturer of Loudwater, Bucks, was fined £14,800 (inc.costs) after two workers were injured due to inadequate guarding on dangerous parts of machinery in separate incidents.
The circumstances were:
  • On 29 June 2011, an employee, attempted to make adjustments to material on a lamination line. 
  • His hand was pulled between two unguarded rollers.
  • He fractured his finger.
  • As a result, HSE served two improvement notices requiring the company to take action to ensure the standards of guarding around potentially dangerous machines were raised to an acceptable level.
  • However, interlocks on machines continued to be overridden, and this was effectively endorsed by the company.
  • On 11 September 2013 another worked tried to clear a blockage on a moving machine.
  • Her hand was trapped and she suffered cuts and bruising.
The HSE inspector said:“Although the injuries sustained to these workers were relatively minor, they could have been much worse. This type of incident is still far too common despite the fact that workers have lost limbs, been disabled and, in the most severe cases, even lost their life because of inadequate or missing guarding. Both incidents were easily avoidable. Guards had been removed on the first occasion and interlocked guards were overridden in the second. Taking guarding away from machines or overriding systems to allow access to dangerous parts should be only carried out with considerable planning and with alternative safe systems of work in place to protect workers. It must not be routine, as was the case here.”    

Paper products company fined for overridden interlocks.

The Swan Mill Paper Company Ltd was fined £27,000 (inc. costs) for allowing workers to bypass interlocked guards on machinery after one employee trapped his hand.
The circumstances were:
  • The company was aware that engineers would use interlock keys to override the guarding on machines for the purpose of diagnosing faults .
  • On 15 January 2013, one engineer injured his fingers when his hand became trapped after he defeated an interlocked door to get a better look at a wrapping fault.

The fines comprised a fine of £5,000 and costs of £22,000.
The HSE Inspector said:
“Companies should ensure that equipment is suitably guarded at all times. If access is needed to machinery, for whatever reason, then measures should be taken to adapt the machine to ensure its safety either by further physical safeguards, such as additional guarding or operating at reduced speed; ensuring that employees stand back is not acceptable. Latest HSE statistics show that about 15 per cent of reported major injuries involved contact with moving machinery and the risks are well-recognised within the industry. HSE has plenty of free information and guidance to help firms identify problems, find sensible solutions and get things right.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Veolia fined £18,000 after fall from conveyor

Waste and recycling services company Veolia ES Staffordshire Ltd (part of Veoila UK group) were fined £18,000 (inc. costs) after a worker suffered life changing injuries when he fell more than 8 feet from a conveyor.
The circumstances were:
  • On 2 May 2014 , a worker was clearing items caught on the forks of a ‘grizzly conveyor’. 
  • Veolia failed to risk assess this operation.
  • The worker fell from the unprotected edge of the conveyor.

The HSE Inspector said:
 “ This incident was entirely preventable, clearing the conveyor in this way was a routine part of the job but no risk assessment had been carried out. If it had it would have been obvious edge protection was essential.  The injured worker is still suffering from his injuries now and has only been able to return to work on limited duties. Falls from height are the most common cause of serious injury and fatalities in the workplace, it’s imperative that risk assessments are carried out and suitable control measures are put in place to eliminate or reduce the risks”

Worker killed by 240V cable from a "redundant" system

Natures Ways Foods, a fresh produce manufacturing company of Chichester, was been fined £200,000 (inc. costs) after a worker was killed after coming into contact with a live 240V electrical cable.
The circumstances were:
  • Natures Way Foods had plenty of opportunity to deal with redundant cables but it was always assumed they were not live.
  • Cabling from old electrical systems was not identified, isolated or removed in a controlled way.
  • Bradley Watts, a 21 year old sub-contractor, was lagging pipes in the loft space of Natures Ways Foods premises on 2 June 2011. 
  • He came into contact with a 240V live electrical cable and was electrocuted. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the ambulance crew.

Grundfos Pumps fined £415,000 after teenage employee was killed by 3-phase electricity.

Grundfos Pumps Limited of Leighton Buzzard were fined £415,000 (inc.costs) after a trainee design engineer lost his life.
The circumstances were:
  • Grundfos Pumps Ltd had not adequately risk assessed the testing of live electrical panels. 
  • They had failed to identify a safe system of work.
  • They also failed to provide suitable training and supervision to undertake 3 phase live testing. 
  • 19-year-old trainee design engineer, Jake Herring was testing a live electrical control panel with exposed conductors.
  • He was unsupervised.
  • Jake came into contact with a live 3 phase electrical system and died from his injuries

The HSE Inspector said:
“This tragic incident could and should have been avoided.  Grundfos Pumps Limited’s failure to adequately risk assess the electrical testing process led to an unsafe system work being in place. Training and supervision arrangements were clearly inadequate. If live electrical testing has to be undertaken, suitable precautions must be in place.”

Driver continued to drive lorry which was leaking potassium hydroxide.

Whitman Laboratories Ltd, of Petersfield, and Allport Cargo Services Ltd. of Sittingbourne, were each fined £23,500 (inc. costs) after they allowed a lorry with leaking corrosive potassium hydroxide to travel 12 miles.
The circumstances were:
  • 170 plastic jerricans containing a 45 per cent solution were loaded at Whitman Laboratories.
  • The jerricans were loaded by an unsupervised contract employee, who had only started the job as a loader that week. 
  • The loader did not know how loads should be safety stowed and had not loaded a dangerous consignment previously. 
  • Whitman provided little guidance on safe stowage
  • The jerricans were not tightened.
  • They were stacked on pallets but not securely 
  • The pallets were not braced on the trailer.
  • The driver noticed his load was leaking during a stop at a motorway service station on the M2 in Kent.
  • He phoned his transport supervisor and said the substance was corrosive and that he wanted the emergency services to be called.
  • His transport supervisor consulted her line manager and then directed the driver to return to Sittingbourne, which was 12 miles away. 
  • On arrival, the extent of damage was realised and the emergency services were finally called –nearly two hours after the leak was originally discovered.
  • Six fire engines attended the scene and hosed down the contaminated area. 
  • The driver and warehouse supervisor, who had been called in to assist, were believed to have been exposed to the material. They were stripped down and hosed on site, before being taken to hospital for observation. The service station was also decontaminated.
  • Around 85 litres of potassium hydroxide was lost.

The HSE inspector said: 
“Potassium hydroxide can cause severe damage to eyes and skin and is classified as dangerous for transport. The responsibilities under the regulations are clear. It was only by chance that no-one was seriously injured in this incident.”

Worker loses arm in steel straightening machine

Hi-Tech Special Steels Ltd, a South Sheffield steel processing company was fined £13,000 after one of its workers lost his arm following it being crushed in machinery. 
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on a machine to straighten steel coils before cutting them into lengths. 
  • Hi-Tech Special Steels had not carried out a risk assessment and had failed to properly guard the machine.
  • On 11 February 2014, Roger Marshall was setting up the machine.
  • Although Mr Marshall was an experienced operator, the training he received did not cover health and safety issues.
  • He reached into the machine to make an adjustment and was struck by the clamp head of the machine ‘ram’ which crushed his left arm against the die block.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Sheffield steel company fined £100K after death during lorry unloading

Daver Steels Ltd, a Sheffield steel company was fined £100,000 (inc.costs) after a 42-year-old worker was killed by a three-tonne load of steel tubes. 
The circumstances were:
  • On 6 December 2012 Robert Ismay was delivering two bundles of 7.5-metre-long tubes to Daver Steels.
  • No checks were made by  to see what was to be offloaded or how the load was positioned. 
  • Daver Steels had not assessed the risks involved with loading and unloading.
  • Daver Steels failed to provide direction to workers, leaving them to develop their own practices including choosing how they offloaded, what equipment to use and where offloading took place
  • No safe system of work was in place.
  • The only safe way to unload was to to put the truck in the loading bay and use a crane, which the company had, 
  • The unloading operation was done by forklift truck in the road. 
  • A trained but inexperienced forklift truck driver was then told to lift the steel tubes.
  • Mr Ismay was allowed to remain on the back of the lorry.
  • The forks’ reach was too short so when they were raised, the bundles fell off and struck Mr Ismay.
  • He was pushed off the trailer onto the pavement and was hit and fatally wounded by the bundles of steel tubes as they crashed down behind him. 

The HSE Inspector said:
“Unfortunately, this type of incident is not unique or new. What happened to Robert Ismay was a tragedy that has had devastating consequences for his wife, children and wider family. There was a series of safety failings by Daver Steels in this case. Key was its failure to put in place adequate control measures, which includes the provision of suitable instructions to employees and visiting workers so such tasks could be completed safely. Daver Steels should have taken responsibility for the driver’s safety and the delivery and unloading operation. Companies that receive deliveries to their premises have a duty to ensure that any unloading operation is carried out in a safe manner.” 

Pirelli fined nearly £200K after death in autoclave

Tyre manufacturer Pirelli has been fined £196,706 (inc. costs) after an employee died when he became trapped in an industrial autoclave for more than two hours.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on an industrial autoclave which was used to heat rubber tyre beads up to 145°C. During its operation, steam would be piped into the vessel under pressure, creating a deadly atmosphere containing little or no oxygen.
  • It had a heavy, circular pressure-door on the autoclave which could not be opened from the inside.
  • There was no way for anyone inside the machine to stop the cycle once it had begun.
  • Employees occasionally entered the autoclave to pick up fallen beads when the pressure-door was open between cycles.
  • However, despite this, Pirelli failed to identify the autoclave as a confined space. 
  • There were no measures in place to prevent access to the autoclave.
  • There was also no system for checking the autoclave before the door was shut and the operating cycle was started.
  • On 30 September 2012 George Falder had entered the autoclave and his body was found inside just after 6pm.

The HSE inspector said:
“George Falder’s tragic death has had a devastating impact on his family and friends. His colleague had no way of knowing anyone was inside when he switched on the machine because the company did not have systems in place to stop this from happening. Pirelli failed to identify the risk posed by workers entering the autoclave. They should either have prevented access, or made sure that the autoclave was properly checked each time before the door was closed and the operating cycle started. If either of these policies had been implemented then Mr Falder’s death might have been avoided.”