Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Pellet manufacturing company fined £300,000 after employee was killed in a blender

Rettenmaier UK Manufacturing Limited, a Mansfield pellet manufacturing company, was been fined £300,000 (inc. costs) after an employee was killed when he was pulled into an industrial blender. 
The circumstances were:
  • The blender was part of a process line in which shredded recycled paper was mixed with bitumen and oil before being pressed into pellets, dried and bagged. 
  • The line was installed on a number of floors and was computer controlled with control screens on two floors.
  • There was no computer control screen on the same floor as the blender with the control screen in use at the time of the accident on the floor below. 
  • There was no line of sight from this control screen to the blender. 
  • When the line was running, the factory was noisy.
  • There was no written system of work or instructions for isolation and no instruction to lock off isolators. 
  • There were no manuals or written instructions for operating plant. 
  • There was no proper training for staff. 
  • There were no risk assessments for any work on the plant.
  • On 21 January 2011, George Major was helping to clear a blockage from machinery.
  • A guard had been removed from the machine.
  • It had not been isolated and locked off from the electricity supply. 
  • The line unexpectedly started up and Mr Major was dragged into the blender and killed.  

The HSE Inspector said:“Mr Major’s death was entirely avoidable and his life was needlessly lost. The failings by Rettenmaier UK Manufacturing Ltd caused a fatality in particularly distressing circumstances.  The absence of an effective health and safety management system, including a lack of a safe system of work for equipment isolation and lock-off, risk assessment and proper training for staff, meant that all workers at the site were at risk. This tragic incident could have so easily been avoided if a few simple steps had been taken by the company.”

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