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Firm in court after teenager’s arm crushed in dangerous machinery

Date:
18 December 2013

A Sheffield teenager with a temporary job at a major glass recycling firm in West Yorkshire had his arm crushed when it was drawn into the unguarded danger zone of a machine, a court has heard.

The 18-year-old Sheffield worker, who was employed by a local staffing agency, had been working as a temp at Reuse Collections Ltd, which trades as Berryman, in Pontefract, for varying periods over some six months.   Wakefield Magistrates were told (17 Dec) he had been asked by a supervisor to clean a machine used to separate glass from waste material at the company’s site on 15 June 2012. The machine was running and his left hand and arm was drawn in between a rotating metal drum and a moving conveyor belt.

The teenager suffered a fractured upper arm. Surgeons needed to use bone from his hip and metal rods to rebuild his arm.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and found the machine had been totally unguarded, providing ready access by workers to dangerous moving parts. In addition Reuse Collections Ltd had no work system to make sure the machine was isolated and safely locked off before cleaning was undertaken.

HSE told the court that rather than fitting an effective guard enclosing the dangerous parts of the machine, the company relied on employees to carry out cleaning carefully to avoid contact with the moving parts.

Reuse Collections Ltd, trading as Berryman, of Lidgate Crescent, Langthwaite Business Park, South Kirkby, Pontefract, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,638 in full costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Bradley Wigglesworth said:

“There is no excuse for companies to operate machinery without protecting employees and other workers from the dangerous parts. The requirement for guarding is well known and recognised across industry not least because the risks are obvious.

“Had the machine had adequate guarding and a safe system of work implemented to isolate the machine, the serious and painful injury to this young and inexperienced worker could have been avoided.”

For advice and information on safe working with machinery, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/puwer.htm

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

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Issued on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive by the Regional News Network