A plastics manufacturer has been fined after a worker was fatally struck by a pressurised rod.
The rod was secured in the machine by a pressurised piston which should have been depressurised before the rod was removed.
As the worker removed the rod, it was forcibly ejected along with the machine’s retaining end cap, striking him in the chest with the equivalent force of eight tonnes.
The court was told the firm had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the machine. It did not therefore identify all foreseeable hazards.
Nylacast Limited admitted breaking the:
- Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
In addition to being fined £293,000, the manufacturer had to pay £10,206 costs.
Health & Safety Executive
In the court’s judgment, the case was an accident “waiting to happen”.
The judge said there was “no engineering measure which prevented the ejection of the end cap before pressure in the mould had been released. The failings in this case were not an isolated incident as the risk existed each time the machine was used”.
The HSE stressed those in control of work equipment are required to carry out a ‘suitably robust assessment’ in order to make sure all foreseeable hazards are identified.
Furthermore the judge commented, “had this hazard been identified, suitable engineering controls could have been devised and implemented to minimise the risk – therefore this death could have been prevented”.