Fine after unsafe machinery accident

The dangers of unsafe machinery

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found an animal feed supplement manufacturer failed to ensure measures were taken to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery after a worker lost his arm when it was pulled into machinery.

Frederick Sharp, 71, of Stamford, had to have his right arm amputated after the incident at UFAC (UK) Ltd’s plant in Oakham, Rutland on 14 January 2014.

Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard today (4 June) that Mr Sharp was adjusting a belt on a production line conveyor feeding a bagging point.

He removed a guard to access the adjusting screw when his arm was drawn into the in-running nip between the belt and roller, resulting in extensive injuries which required amputation below the shoulder. His also suffered multiple fractures to his right hip and leg which required surgery to insert a pin and plate.

HSE had taken previous enforcement against UFAC (UK) Ltd for similar failings three years prior to the incident. In January 2011 the company was issued with a Prohibition Notice preventing access underneath a running conveyor because fixed guards were not in place to prevent the risk of being drawn into or trapped in moving machinery. UFAC (UK) Ltd were fined £8,000 with £1,633 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking about the case, HSE Inspector Judith McNulty-Green said: “This was an entirely preventable incident. The dangers of nip points, or the gaps between a moving belt and a stationary part of a machine, are well-known.”

Preventing accidents

If your company uses machinery, it is important you keep the workplace as safe as possible. Why not get in touch, call us on: 020 7870 1090.

Speaking about using machinery safely, Judith McNulty-Green said: “It is important that companies recognise the need for and implement safe machinery guarding, not just for operator safety but also for safety during maintenance.”

You can find out more about the HSE’s advice here.