Workers having body parts slashed, crushed and fractured… doesn’t this bring to mind images of a Victorian workhouse?
Tragically, such injuries are very much part of modern day working. In fact, workers suffer 40,000 such injuries every year including a dozen or so deaths.
And the cause?
Well, Sheffield Magistrates’ Court recently heard in an all too familiar tale of woe how a worker suffered life changing injuries after being drawn into unguarded machinery.
The worker was clearing material from a discharge chute. But a still-rotating spiked roller inside the chute was unguarded and grabbed the worker’s hand. The seriousness of the injury meant surgeons had to amputate it.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the soft toy filling company over the incident.
Stuffing Plant Ltd pleaded guilty to breaking the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act (HSWA) 1974.
It was fined £35,000 with £2,480 costs.
The HSE said the injury could have been prevented if:
- suitable and sufficient planning had been completed
- correct control measures were identified and put in place
Common causes of machine injury
Common causes of injury involving machinery include:
- inadequate training – workers are often asked to operate machinery with little or no training
- operating machinery without protective gear
- faulty machinery – machinery that’s not maintained can be just as dangerous as when operated without suitable guarding
All machines pose a certain amount of risk if not maintained, used or guarded properly.
The HSWA says controls must be in place and all machines used properly. As an employer you must:
- carry out machinery risk assessments
- regularly maintain machinery
- give priority to necessary repairs
- make sure all staff handling machines have the necessary training
- provide employees with relevant protective gear and make sure it’s always fully worn when operating machinery
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 also make clear:
- equipment used by employees must be suitable, maintained and inspected
- workers must have necessary machine and equipment safety training
- employers should remove risks where possible or control them as far as reasonably practicable
Don’t hesitate to contact Ellis Whittam if you need help managing risks in your work place.