Worker gives two fingers to company’s negligence

Date:  8 July 2013

Hall & Woodhouse Ltd,  a Dorset brewery has been prosecuted for safety breaches and negligence after an employee lost two fingers in unguarded machinery.

The 32 year-old worker, who does not wish to be named, was trying to clear a blockage in a grain dust extractor at the Hall and Woodhouse brewery in Blandford during a night shift on 27 August 2012.

He reached into the chute of the extractor to dislodge the build-up, but his right hand made contact with the rotary valve, which was still running. His middle and index fingers were severed.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which today (8 July) prosecuted Hall & Woodhouse Ltd at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court for a breach of safety legislation.

In its new location, the operatives had been tasked with emptying the grain dust extractor when necessary.

HSE found Hall and Woodhouse had failed to identify the risks associated with the grain dust extractor in its new location. It was foreseeable that employees would try to deal with a blockage if one occurred and an alternative system should have been provided to prevent access by workers to dangerous moving parts.

Hall & Woodhouse Ltd. of The Brewery, Blandford St Mary, Dorset, was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Plus Safety Comment: Is it not conceivable that if a blockage occurred the conscientious employee would try to unblock it, and if there was no specific implement to do this then he would improvise and use his hand! Once again this is not rocket science. The cost of this one accident would have covered the cost of installing a proper H&S management system to prevent incidents like this happening not only to this poor chap but everyone else, and to ensure the company fulfilled all of its H&S duties. Is it really too much to pay?

Excavator firm fined after worker’s fingers severed

John Watson, 55, from Wheatley Hill, County Durham, was drilling holes in steel plates at Komatsu UK Ltd Birtley, when his right hand became caught in the rotating parts of the machine. Komatsu UK Ltd, of Durham Road, Birtley pleaded guilty of one breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,421.10.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2010/coi-ne-28710.htm

Bury firm sentenced after woman’s fingers severed

A worker in a factory, manufacturing lids for food containers, had four fingers severed in a lid-punching machine that had been modified by her employers.

Chadwicks of Bury Ltd, which produces lids for yogurt pots, ice cream cartons and other food containers, was prosecuted by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at the company’s Villiers Street factory on 15 May 2008.

The 51-year-old worker, who has asked not to be named, was rethreading silver paper through the machine when the cutting tool restarted, severing four fingers on her right hand.

The HSE investigation found the company had covered the sensors on the machine so it could be used to cut paper instead of foil lids. The sensors would have stopped the machine operating when paper was being rethreaded through the cutting tool, if they had not been disabled.

Chadwicks of Bury pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery. The company was fined £22,500 with £8,708 costs at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court today. http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2010/coi-nw-65chadwicks.htm