£400k fine for utterly dangerous maintenance

The cost of working without assessing the risks has again been highlighted in court.

A packaging company was fined after unsafe work practices resulted in a maintenance worker being injured.

The employee was repairing a cardboard machine when he put his foot on an exposed conveyor. He was dragged into the machine’s moving parts.

Uncontrolled work

The court heard the company allowed uncontrolled maintenance work to take place without assessing the risks or having safe maintenance procedures.

A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the machine had a “jog mode” which could have allowed for its safe maintenance. But staff were not trained on using it nor was its use enforced as the firm was unaware of the setting.

Sentence

Diamond Box Ltd admitted breaking the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £400,000 with £9,880 costs.

The HSE said the company relied on worker experience rather than controlling the risks by carefully assessing them and putting in place safe work systems.

The judge described the maintenance practices as “utterly dangerous” saying the risk to workers was “wholly avoidable”.

Ellis Whittam recently reported on manufacturing’s risks from moving machine parts here.

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