Unguarded machine causes worker to lose arm

Around a dozen deaths and 40,000 injuries happen every year in easily preventable incidents involving unguarded machinery.

In another needless statistic, an alloy processing plant has been given a hefty fine after an operative’s arm was caught in an exposed moving mechanism.

Unguarded moving parts

The court heard the worker was cleaning machinery when his arm was dragged into an unguarded belt and flywheel.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found workers had to regularly clean machines to make sure product batches were not contaminated. This meant they were often right next to unguarded belts and flywheels.

The company’s machinery was enclosed with a fence and interlocked gate that made sure machines were not powered when the gate was open. However, belts and flywheels could still move with considerable power if caught or nudged.

The worker’s crush injuries were so severe he had to have an arm amputated.

Sentence

AMG Superalloys UK Ltd pleaded guilty to breaking the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £240,000 with £22,794 costs.

The HSE said the life-changing injury was entirely preventable, particularly as the risks of unguarded machinery are well-known. If the company had carried out its legal duty and assessed machine risks, including how workers cleaned them, then the dangers workers were exposed to would have been realised. As the HSE say: “Fitting simple guards would have prevented this worker’s arm from been dragged in, resulting in his life-changing injuries.”

Ellis Whittam recently reported on the risks moving machine parts pose to manufacturers.

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