Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Warburtons fined over £1.9 after worker was caught in exposed conveyors

Warburtons Ltd was fined £1,921,459 (inc.costs) after a worker was injured when his arm got trapped against a running conveyor belt.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on two conveyors on a bread line on 4 August 2015.
  • These conveyors had exposed moving parts which could have been guarded.
  • An agency worker was cleaning parts of the line.
  • As he reached into the line he became trapped between the two conveyors.
  • Part of the machine had to be dismantled to release him.
  • This left him with friction burns which required skin grafts.

The HSE inspector said:
“Warburtons failed to guard the machine sufficiently to prevent access to the running conveyors, which in this case could have prevented the injuries. Employers should ensure that all equipment used by agency and their own workers alike are sufficiently guarded and take appropriate measures if any deficiencies are found.”

HMG Paints fined £119,669 after electric floor scrubber ignited solvent fumes

Paint manufacturing company HMG Paints Ltd was fined £119,669.40 (inc.costs) after a worker suffered burns while cleaning the floor of a spray booth.
The circumstances were:
  • The employee was using a highly flammable solvent to clean the floor of a spray booth.
  • He had done several times since the spray booth was installed.
  • After complaints about how difficult it was to remove the dried paint he was allowed to purchase an industrial floor scrubber to carry out the task.
  • The planning for cleaning floors using solvent failed to recognise the hazards and level of risk associated with the use of highly flammable solvents to clean floors. 
  • No DSEAR assessment was carried out with respect to the use of this scrubber with these solvents.
  • The employee who was injured had not been trained to clean floors 
  • He was not adequately supervised when carrying out the cleaning activity.
  • On 18 November 2014 electric motor on the floor scrubber ignited the cloud of flammable vapour that had built up in the spray booth.
  • The employee was seriously injured, receiving 26% burns, and was treated at the specialist burns unit at Wythenshawe Hospital.

The HSE inspector said:
“This is a company that handles large quantities of flammable solvent, the hazards are well known and the company has a duty to control the risks arising from the hazards. It was custom and practice to clean floors using highly flammable solvents applied using a mop and bucket. In this instance the company failed to adequately control the risks and an employee was seriously injured.”

Spectral colours fined after unstable machine toppled

Spectral Colours Limited was fined £25,444 (inc.costs) after a worker was crushed under machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on a dispersion mixing machine  on 30 April 2014.
  • This machine was not properly fixed to the ground.
  • A worker was cleaning this machine.
  • He sat on one of the clamping arms when it suddenly toppled over and pinned his leg underneath the machine.
  • He suffered a fractured ankle and serious crush injuries to his foot.

The HSE inspector said:
“This case highlights the need for all duty holders to ensure all machinery in their workplaces are properly fixed and maintained to the required safety standard. If Spectral Colours had been more thorough in ensuring that the installation of the machinery was completed properly then this accident wouldn’t have happened.”

SSS comment: The fine was only £3000, with the remaining £22,444 being costs.  Bearing in mind that the Sentencing Guidelines are now in place, this is incredibly low.