In recent court proceedings, a recycling company has been found liable for an accident which resulted in the loss of multiple fingers for an employee. On the 2nd of October the worker, who had spent just eight weeks at the company attempted to clear a blockage in the hopper of the machine while it was switched on. After removing the guard, he leaned into the machine and moved the blocked plastic. The ram then activated, crushing his hand.
What should have prevented it
It is clear in this case that the employer had knowingly fallen short of HSE standards. The HSE found that the company had installed a removable guard as blockages occurred frequently, meaning employees were at risk as protective measures were removed. The employees were not informed of the dangers of accessing the hopper while the power was on and HSE found was common practice to clear the machine by hand with the machine still running. The company had no suitable risk assessment in place to identify necessary control measures which were missing; a fixed guard and a safe lock off.
The incident caused extensive damage to his hand, including the amputation of multiple fingers. He has since been unable to return to work.
The court found Wrapp Recycling Ltd of Bradford Street, Bolton guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,951.90.
Could CRAMS help
Completing a risk assessment with CRAMS is easy!
All company hazards and risk types are stored on the company site in a library and are available for staff to use from a drop-down menu, so the assessor can simply pick applicable hazards from a drop-down, guiding them to question each risk type to see if they apply to the task.